Stark, honest and impactful - the voices of people living in isolation tell their experiences of loneliness.
The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign has spoken to real people about the way loneliness has affected their lives.
The audio archive casts a light on those people whose lives and defined by loneliness in a way that statistics cannot - and we believe it has the power to make the authorities listen, stand up and act.
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Click the links to listen to each story. Use your browser’s Back button to return to this page after each one.
Freda, 85, felt desperate for company before the charity Independent Age helped her to find Contact the Elderly, which organises monthly tea parties. She says she is feels like “a different person” and has found the confidence to go out more.
Dorothy, 86, felt lost after her husband died. She got in touch with The SIlver Line, which became a lifeline to her. Now she volunteers and helps other people who are lonely.
Mary, 88, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, felt very alone after her husband died 11 years ago. But after suffering a heart attack three years ago she was referred to Contact the Elderly, and now attends monthly tea parties.
Ernest, 87, of Leeds, said his life “altered completely” when his wife died. He no longer has the incentive to go out, and relies on the television, and increasingly his computer, to stay in touch.
Joanne, 74, felt alone for the first time in her life when her husband died four years ago. Coming back to an empty house with no one to talk to has left her with a “depressing loneliness”.
Joy was diagnosed with a balance condition when she was 60, which she says took away her independence as she could no longer leave the house alone. But Leeds-based support service Caring Together saved her sanity, she said. Without it she’d spend seven days a week at home.
Winifred, 89, has a range of health problems, and experienced loneliness after losing her son and brother.
She has been helped by charity Independent Age, which has paired her up with a befriender, Ian, who now regularly visits her.
Maud lived with her best friend for more than 60 years, and “got into a rut” after she died. But attending Contact the Elderly tea parties stopped her feeling lonely.
Bob, 93, felt a “terrible aching feeling” of loneliness following the death of his wife from Alzheimer’s Disease. But after using The Silver Line he became an ambassador for the charity, and now talks to groups across the country about loneliness and ways to alleviate it.
Cynthia, of Halifax, was lonely before her GP recommended she joined social classes.
Bernice, of Sheffield, was referred to Age UK Sheffield. She was lonely and has complex health problems but has now takes part in activities through The Club, the charity’s social group.
Anne, 71, of Doncaster, moved to a new village after the death of her husband. After spending 50 years “in a partnership” she found herself with nothing to do, she didn’t know anybody, and felt increasingly alone, especially in the evenings.