About 30 percent of Americans over age 65 live alone.

This New York Times article touches on elderly people and loneliness reminded me of my aunt, who not long ago lost her husband of more than 50 years. She’s in her 70s and lives alone, yet I know my other family members make sure she comes over often and vice versa. I don’t think she should live alone, but I know she wants to be strong and not impose on anyone.

So far, it’s working out. She’s keeping active and I think that’s important. Anyway, onto this great story:

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The Neighbors Who Don’t Knock

By John Leland

NO one on the floor can say how or why it happened, what made them different from other residents in the building. Maybe it began with a small thing: a cup of coffee brought from across the hall, a phone call at night to make sure the day’s demons were not filling up the dark.

They are about a dozen New Yorkers in their 70s and 80s, mostly women, mostly living alone, on the fifth floor of a public-housing building for older residents in Washington Heights. They have enough health problems to fill a nursing home. They are prime candidates for social isolation and the consequences it brings.

Instead, on a morning in March, they are a crowd, squeezing into the apartment of Bienvenida Torres, 78, in what has become their project for the past year, and a test of their bonds as a community. On June 30, 2011, Ms. Torres’s daughter was stabbed to death in her apartment in Co-op City in the Bronx. The police arrested the daughter’s common-law husband, who remains on Rikers Island awaiting trial. Since the killing, Ms. Torres’s neighbors have been united in purpose, to help her weather the blow.

Read more here.

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