Audrey, 70, from North East England spent over 20 years being alone at Christmas, and at all other times of year too, until a visit from a volunteer called Sue changed her life.
For years, Audrey cared for her brother, husband, and son, who each had serious health problems. In her 50’s, they sadly all passed away, which made life for Audrey a real struggle. She was on her own. She suffered depression which lasted for years and years. Days and weeks could go by, and she wouldn’t see anybody, especially around Christmas time. It was just her and her dogs, year after year, tormented by long dark nights.
All she wished for during that dark time was to have friends.
Unfortunately, a story like Audrey’s is all to familiar. In fact, it’s tragically common among older people to experience a similar situation.
Here are some statistics about loneliness among older people:
- Loneliness and isolation pose an equivalent risk for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
- People who experience loneliness have an increased risk of developing dementia.
- Nearly half of people aged 75+ live alone.
Sue, an Independent Age volunteer, began visiting Audrey at her home.
“It was like a breath of fresh air,” Audrey exclaimed.
She never imagined that something as simple as a visitor could break through her loneliness like that, especially after twenty years.
And from that point on, Audrey’s life improved drastically. She began to get out and about, she made other friends, and she became a huge part of her local community groups, even becoming the MC of her local bingo club.
If you have an elderly neighbor, please do keep a watch out for them and, if you can, share some of your time.
Find out more about Independent Age (Charity)