In 2017, a 90-year-old woman from Missouri, Wanda, decided she’d had enough of being alone. She lived all by herself with no friends and her children had lives of their own far away from her. As shared by KTVU on Facebook, this sweet old lady wrote a heartbreaking letter to her neighbor who lived down the street . Marleen Brooks came home to the note and her heart was flooded with guilt and sadness.
50 years without friends in her neighborhood
Wanda didn’t even know her neighbor’s 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.”
Brooks sent a photo of the letter to KTVU’s Frank Somerville and also shared it on her 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 had lost one of her sons to cancer the previous year. Her two surviving sons have lives of their own, although one of them lives close to her – but not close enough. Wanda suffers from poor health as she’s battling with congestive heart failure, osteoporosis, and she requires artificial oxygen.
An end to her lonely days
Brooks and her daughter went over to Wanda’s to visit her – with a batch of cupcakes to celebrate the new friendship. The old lady’s joy knew no bounds when she received her new BFFs.
“She’s such a sweet lady! And she was over the moon when we came over. ” Brooks wrote
According to Brooks, Wanda had said during their visit: “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.”
She’d been so alone that she was forced to break out of her comfort zone to make new friends. The culture of isolating the elderly should be abhorred in modern society. Trying to make friends as a teenager is hard enough, much less as an ailing, terrified 90-year-old. She’d watched many of her friends pass away and then she was the only left, alone and cut off from the rest of the world.
Make a move to make an “old friend”
Loneliness has become a public health issue for the elderly. According to the National Academy of Sciences, social isolation increases the risk of mortality in people aged 52 and above . It affects their mental wellbeing and puts a strain on their fragile hearts. As we age, we become more vulnerable to social isolation because everyone thinks the “old lady sitting on her porch probably just wants to be alone.” This is not true. They need companionship and friendship even more than the younger generation.
It’s important to reach out to the elderly in your neighborhood once in a while. Have lunch with them, play chess, watch House of Cards, listen to old school music, knit, bake and take Snap chat photos. Elderly people make the best babysitters and they enjoy the company of young children the most. Like Brooks and her daughter, you too can make friends with that lonely senior citizen across the street.
“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.
“There are so many others out there who are lonely just like Wanda,” Somerville wrote. “I would ask that maybe you consider knocking on their door and saying hi. I know it would mean the world to them. And who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend.”
- Sarah Hosseini. Lonely 90-Year-Old Woman Asks Neighbor To Be Her Friend In Heartbreaking Note. Scary Mommy. https://www.scarymommy.com/lonely-90-year-old-woman-seeking-friendship-reaches-out-to-neighbor/?utm_source=FB. Retrieved 06-11-19
- Frank Somerville KTVU. Facebook. https://web.facebook.com/FrankSomervilleKTVU/posts/1467389743324348. Retrieved 06-11-19
- Steptoe et al. Social isolation, loneliness, and all-cause mortality in older men and women. PNAS. www.pnas.org/content/110/15/5797.full. Retrieved 06-11-19