11/16/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

A woman feels abandoned by friends who disappeared after she placed her husband in assisted living. She wonders, why did these senior friendships fade? See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson says in this installment of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy: 

About six months ago, I had to place my husband of 64 years into assisted living, due to mental and physical decline. He has adjusted very well. I visit him every day. I have also adjusted to my new life alone, with the help of our children and grandchildren, who visit him every week.

I am fortunate to have caring and friendly neighbors and friends. However, there is one problem that greatly bothers and disturbs me.

Of our married friends (very few couples left), very few have even called since the very beginning of all this.

My very best friend, whom I have known for more than 50 years, has never visited me, rarely calls, and only invited me once to her house for coffee.

I feel I have been abandoned by my closest friends, at a time when I need them the most.

What has happened? Why did my friendships fade? What have I done? Am I a threat to them? If so, why?

I have heard from my widowed friends that the same thing happened to them.

I realize that I have to make new friends, and I do. I am active in church and community activities, but I am disappointed in my “old and true forever-friends.”

Any ideas about what is happening – and why?


senior woman from behind looking out of the window, lonely, seeking senior friendships

Dear Searching: 

It sounds as if you have adjusted very well to this huge life change. It’s a shame that you have to do so without the company of some of your closest friends.

You have done nothing wrong. I also don’t believe that you are a “threat” to your friends. 

Your situation, however, is threatening. For some, it’s a tender reminder of the possibility of challenging times ahead.

The geometry of your life has changed, which has upended the balance with your friends who are couples. They are the ones who have let these senior friendships fade.

You might try to be a little more proactive with these friends. You could ask if they would visit your husband with you and then you could have lunch together afterward.

Talk frankly with your “bestie” – tell her that you miss her and that you hope your friendship can weather this adjustment.

Related: How Friendships Change As We Age

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from relationships to senior friendships. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194,Freeville, NY 13068

© 2022 by Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson