This note is an invitation to a webinar about managing social isolation. It will be September 28th, 12:00 EST.
No one plans to become sick and alone, cut off from meaningful human contact and dying slowly. Humor me for a bit and picture yourself being in solitary confinement and being quite ill. Your cell bars are not metal but the pain and fatigue of chronic illness can become so heavy that breaking free is very difficult.
Social isolation is itself a disease which too often harms the most vulnerable members of our society. We once lived more compact lives. Family units tended to stay close. Social contact through the community was the norm. Modern society has produced much that is good but there is a darkness below for those less fortunate who find themselves becoming invisible at best or being viewed as a burden at worst as our social structures fray.
We believe child neglect is a crime because children are helpless. We scorn those who we see as being uncaring or unwilling to provide proper care. Most people who are not yet unwell share those feelings, but I ask you, what is different about people who have become unwell and suffer the long term decline that so often accompanies advancing age or disease? When do they deserve to be cared for or shall we turn our gaze once more to the next shiny object?
The challenge of chronic disease has no real end. Generally, over time, symptoms become more difficult and people retreat within themselves. They ration their energy resources and often gradually withdraw from the larger society. A defense mechanism to be sure but a trap for many as the society of today doesn't naturally embrace the struggling individual and loneliness follows.
We live in an age when chronic non-communicable disease will dominate our health concerns and if we are just a little bit smart, we don't have to be wise or prudent, just not dumb, we will prepare our social systems to cope with the realities we face.
I invite you to a webinar where I will be part of a panel talking about the problems of social isolation and loneliness. We will be discussing our visions for the future and of ways to serve this rapidly growing part of our community.
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Thank you for your support. Also please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.