What would you do if all of your friends and family had passed away and you were the only one left? Would you wallow in loneliness or try and find a friend?
This is the situation a 90-year-old woman living Missouri found herself in back in 2017. Most of Wanda’s family had passed away over the years and her living children were leading busy lives far away from their mother.
In search of some companionship, Wanda made the brave decision to reach out to her neighbor, who she didn’t even know by name.
Her letter read:
“Mrs ? Would you consider to become my friend?
I’m 90 years old- live alone.
All my friends have passed away.
I’m so lonesome and scared.
Please I pray for someone.”
The letter ended up in the hands of Marleen Brooks, who came home to the note and was flooded with emotion – everything from sadness to guilt over not befriending her elderly neighbor sooner.
Brooks sent a picture of the letter to KTVU’s Frank Somerville.
She also shared the note on her own Facebook page with the caption: “Came home to this note from a lady that lives down the street from me. Makes my heart sad, but on the bright side it looks like I will be getting a new friend.”
Wanda was blessed with three sons, but sadly, one had passed away from cancer the year prior. Her two surviving sons were so busy they hardly made time to see their mother, even though one lived relatively close it wasn’t close enough for regular visits.
Wanda wasn’t in the best of health when she wrote the letter. She was battling congestive heart failure and required artificial oxygen. In addition, she had osteoporosis.
Brooks knew she had to do something more than simply share the elderly woman’s letter, so her and her daughter went over to meet Wanda.
They brought a batch of fresh baked cupcakes, but it wasn’t the sugar that brought all the joy – it was the new besties Wanda was thankful to gain.
“She’s such a sweet lady! And she was over the moon when we came over. ” Brooks wrote.
During their first visit, Wanda said to Brooks: “I hope you didn’t think I was stupid for writing you, but I had to do something. Thank you so much for coming over. I’ve lived here for 50 years and don’t know any of my neighbors.”
At long last, Wanda had enough of the lonely life and decided to break out of her comfort zone in hopes of making new friends, hence the letter Brooks received.
Wanda isn’t alone in her loneliness. In fact, social isolation is one of the leading issues for the elderly. According to a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), over 40 percent of seniors feel loneliness on a regular basis.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are associated with an increased risk of serious health problems and even premature death. In fact, loneliness increases the likelihood of death by 26 percent.
A lack of social connections is as detrimental to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
Seniors who live alone are at the greatest risk for loneliness – and a shocking number of seniors live alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.5 million older adults live in one-person households.
It’s even worse for women than it is for men; 72 percent of men over 65 are married and living with someone, while only 45 percent of women are married, and 37 percent widowed. Nearly half of women over 75 live alone.
That old lady or man you see sitting on their porch all alone, more than likely, they don’t want to be left alone. Extend an olive branch – you have no idea how much it could mean to them to have some companionship.
“I also made sure that Wanda knew she can call us at any time and that I’ll be back to spend time with her! I’m sure Wanda and I will have some great times,” Brooks wrote.
UPDATE ON ELDERLY WOMAN WHO WANTED A FRIENDEarlier today I posted about how Marleen Brooks came home and found a note…