Jane Binnion column

Jane Binnion.
Jane Binnion.
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Last week was Dyspraxia Awareness Week and in cahoots with Lancaster Waterstones we put on a local information event.

Now I’m all about letting people know how amazingly talented people with Dyspraxia are, but I’m still meeting people who are isolated and misunderstood and that has a pretty negative impact on their life.

I’m in the Dyspraxia Foundation Facebook group and every day there are posts by worried parents.

It’s a great place to share experiences and receive much needed encouragement and support.

Also last week there was national attention on the loneliness of the UK’s elderly population.

The Campaign to End Loneliness says there are over 800,000 people in England who feel lonely all or most of the time and that that is significantly harmful to their health.

There are those that argue that technology and social media is a cause of loneliness. I disagree.

Whilst there’s nothing like sitting with someone and having a brew and a good natter, the online world can help to break isolation.

There are Facebook support groups for pretty much everything now, from health conditions, support for ex-service men and women and simply for people with shared interests where you can go in and ask questions, share information or just chat.

And then there’s Skype, a free tool where you can have a conversation with someone and see them on your computer screen.

Earlier this year there was a simple and wonderful project that used Skype to connect young people in Brazil who wanted to improve their conversational English, with residents of a retirement home in Chicago.

The conversations were recorded and the relationships that were formed were incredibly moving (You can find them on You Tube if you want to see them).

People can feel isolated when they’re no longer deemed to be useful.

Retiring, or having a health condition does not mean that people can not contribute their knowledge and experience.

By not tapping into those skills, the rest of us lose out on a massive resource.

Technology isn’t the total answer to ending isolation, but it can help.