Mr. Adams is 85 years old and considers himself quite alive and well. He is a war veteran and has incredible stories to tell. His children live in other parts of Canada, and though he is unable to cook for himself, he receives Meals on Wheels a few times a week. Mr. Adams, however, is isolated. He is unable to leave his apartment without help, and finding care has become problematic. He experiences loneliness, sometimes quite acutely.
Mr. Adams suffers from what his doctor might call ‘social isolation.’ In 2012, Statistics Canada found that 20% of seniors did not participate in weekly or even monthly activities.
Social isolation can have devastating effects on those who suffer it, including depression and even death. ( http://www.imfcanada.org/archive/986/growing-old-alone)
Now consider what a monthly or weekly visit from a kindly volunteer might do for Mr. Adams.
Think how his day can be transformed by the anticipation of a guest to his home. He will take extra time to make himself and his home look presentable, and will wait eagerly for the moment the door bell will ring.
For someone suffering ‘social isolation’ this can be life-changing.
The Make Time for Life Campaign has been designed to advertise the Dying Healed Program.
In our society today, many are dying for lack of love.
In a 2016 study by the US National Institute of Health, it was found that a majority of people killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands for so-called psychiatric reasons had complained of loneliness. The researchers found that loneliness, or “social isolation”, was a key motivation behind the euthanasia requests of 37 of 66 cases reviewed, a figure representing 56 per cent of the total.[i]
These tragedies might have been avoided through the gentle care of another person.
A tireless advocate for vulnerable members of our society, Jean Vanier, wrote that “to be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefore unlovable. Loneliness is a taste of death. No wonder some people who are desperately lonely lose themselves in mental illness or violence to forget the inner pain.” Jean Vanier set up homes for the disabled in Canada and around the world.[ii]
Our society needs to Make Time for Life. Imagine a world where instead of spending time surfing the internet, or going for that manicure, we would take a little time to visit those most in need of another person's presence.
That is why we created this Campaign and the Dying Healed Program, to encourage volunteerism where it is needed most.
[i] http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/02/18/most-euthanasia-deaths-linked-to-loneliness-says-dutch-study/ published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry,
[ii] Jean Vanier, Becoming Human