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Many elderly people I've met are extremely lonely yet somehow extremely strong emotionally. They often say that friendship today isn't the same as when they were young. Can we be too old for friendship? When the years fall and maturity reaches its ultimate heights does our heart turn into a shell?

Loneliness does seem to be an affliction common among the aged in modern industrial/consumerist societies, but I'm not sure empirically that it's greater or less than that suffered by other segments of the population or the elderly of other sorts of societies. If it is, I suspect it may be caused by factors such as: isolation, the deaths of friends and spouses, the loss of meaningful work, and the loss of time with children to mobility and to the concerns of their own lives. In many ways, in our society the elderly seem to be left out and left behind. I doesn't strike me as accurate, however, that among the elderly hearts commonly "turn into shell[s]." On the contrary, I find that many among the elderly possess relatively open, warm, and giving personalities. Factors contributing to this seem to include being unburdened of the demands of work and freed from the business produced by modern life so that one possesses more free time to spend socializing and talking. Friendship often arises through the...