Last week, Theresa May, Prime Minster of Great Britain, announced a new government position – the Minister of Loneliness. A Minister, not in the religious sense of the word, is the British equivalent of a US Secretary. This was a startling announcement! I assumed she would launch into a description of the elderly population in Britain. After all, Britain’s 65 plus age group form 18% of their population and loneliness has always been an expressed condition by that group. But no, her next words were about the loneliness of the digital generation and then about the struggles of the elderly. In addition, she announced that the British government’s Office of National Statistics would be working to devise a method of measuring loneliness in the population. We can learn from this. We all know that fast thumbs do not make fast friends. Social media profiles cannot replace face-to-face interactions. Cute emojis cannot replace a friend’s hug. 40 characters cannot tell a person’s story of struggles and joys. So, the young and the old, and everyone in between, need a place to connect with each other and to connect between generations. Everyone needs a Circle of friends. Does that sound familiar? I hope so.

Christine Dawson
International President

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