Loneliness and Me: Noleen's story
I don’t feel like an old woman
More than half of people aged 75 and over live alone
“It’s just what happens isn’t it? I thought I’d be fine. I’ve always been alright in my own company. But it’s hard being on your own. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Whole days just dragging by. I could be of some use if I had a chance. I don’t feel like an old woman.”
When I finished work I was so bored. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do or anywhere to go. I like watching the TV and I'm happy sitting down and watching my programs but I knew I needed to get out and do things.
I got up one day and realised I'd had enough of having nothing to do. I had to do something. I got myself ready and went down to Scothall sports centre to see what was going on. I joined an exercise class and through people chatting there I found out about Feel Good Factor.
I'd never heard of Feel Good Factor before and it really was just luck that they were mentioned to me. I joined the walking group as well as the art class and the gardening group.
I'm not the best artist but I really enjoy it and the art class really opened up a whole world of new skills for me. I learned batik, pottery, painting all kinds of things. The teacher pushed me to do things I never thought I'd be able to do.
You've just got to get out of the house. I feel sorry for people who can't due to illness because they are just stuck in.
I worked so I'm used to getting out and about. It must be really hard for people who have never worked, or for housewives. They aren't used to putting themselves out there.
When I had my son he was born with a cleft lip and palate. We didn't know he was going to have them as they didn't scan like they do now.
I knew people were going to look at him and ask me things about him. He had wires sticking out from his mouth and a big plaster on his lip. I thought to myself, 'I cannot shut myself and this baby away.' I had to be brave and face the world.
Now I can talk to anyone: at the bus stop, at the shop, wherever. You've got to make yourself known to your neighbours. Knock on their door and say hello. Offer to help if they need it.
You should go to your local library or to your local sports centre. You don't have to be into sports. Ask your GP for information. Take yourself into a local popular cafe. People may want to sit or chat with you.
It's really hard being on your own but there are lots of things happening. You just have to get out and find them.