I do not drive. I live alone. I am sad. Clinically depressed. Brain surgery a long time ago and visual problems. I moved here 3 years ago. I hate living alone, but can find no solution. My husband died 15 years ago, but this past year has been extremely tough. I rode a bike, but a car hit me in July and my knee got infected. I am still limping and lost the one thing that makes me happy – riding my bike. Any ideas. I have tried all the common suggestions. Thanks.

A. Do you have family? If so, it would be helpful if you tried to connect with them. Perhaps you cannot visit them in their home at this time but they can come to yours.

I know it is difficult right now because you can’t do the one thing that you love, which is riding your bike. Keep in mind that it is likely only a matter of time before you can return to riding. In the meantime, try to view this time off as an opportunity. It may be an opportunity for you to engage in an activity that you may not have otherwise tried such as writing, painting, reading, listening to audio books, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, photography, gardening, and so forth. Those may not be your “first choice” activities but you may surprise yourself and actually enjoy something you didn’t think you would.

You may want to investigate whether there are local free or low-cost transportation services. Some communities have such services for community residents. If so, this would give you much greater access to many other local community activities such as attending the YMCA, local support groups, recreational centers, museums, and so forth. It is certainly worth exploring the possibility. Call your local health department for more information.

Another possibility is getting a guide dog. Guide dogs are available for individuals with physical and mental health disabilities. A guide dog may allow you to increase your independence in addition to being a loving companion. Here’s a link to a webpage that lists all of the guide dog schools in the United States. There are many great benefits to having a pet including being a source of unconditional love, companionship, providing social support and reducing stress.

Other ideas include getting a part-time job or volunteering. It is never too late to learn a new skill. Many people find that volunteering is a particularly meaningful experience. Not only can it relieve feelings of isolation and loneliness, it also can give you the pleasure of knowing you have helped a fellow human being. You might also consider becoming active in a church.

I hope my suggestions are useful. I wish you the best. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle