27 Jan Romford man opens up about loneliness in radio appeal
A man from Essex has spoken openly about feeling lonely and isolated after he retired six years ago. Don Adams, 67 and from Romford, has told his story as part of national charity Friends of the Elderly’s appeal on BBC Radio 4.
Don said: “I didn’t go out, I didn’t socialise. I lost confidence and I was told I was becoming reclusive, which I never really accepted.”
Don said many of the activities he looked at locally were aimed at older women, until he was given a leaflet about Friends of the Elderly’s Football Friends programme. The scheme runs for five weeks and allows older fans to reconnect over their love of football by learning about the history of their favourite club, in Don’s case West Ham United F.C., and socialising with others.
Don said: “I don’t like to think where I would be today if Friends of the Elderly hadn’t come along – they’ve changed my life. I now have some wonderful new friends. Bill, who’s in his eighties, describes this as the most meaningful thing he’s done since losing his wife; it’s really transformed life for so many of us.”
With the UK population ageing rapidly, and the gap between male and female life expectancy narrowing, Friends of the Elderly says by 2030 there will be an increase in the number of older men in the community and therefore more needs to be done to support them*.
Sally McLachlan, Senior Engagement Manager, said: “By 2030, it’s estimated that 1.5 million older men will be living alone**. We know that older men can find it harder to socialise and make friends, and they tend to bond more over a common interest such as football. Our Football Friends programme has made a big difference to Don’s life and many other older peoples, and we are hoping to roll this out to more communities.”
The BBC Radio 4 appeal will broadcast on Sunday 29 January at 7.54am and 9.26pm and again on Thursday 2 February at 3.27pm. To find out more about Friends of the Elderly visit www.fote.org.uk/radio4 or call 0330 332 1110.