Connecting with other people again

91-year-old Winnie was feeling very low and lonely after her husband died but has come on leaps and bounds as a result of Agewell’s befriending service.

She’s now a regular at the weekly Wednesbury ‘Talking Threads’ knitting group , has become an Agewell member and attends the monthly Wednesbury Forum meetings. She’s got her confidence back and is thoroughly enjoying being connected with people again.

After being married for more than 70 years, widowhood left Winnie feeling completely lost. She had been her husband’s carer for 23 years, so went from spending most of her time with him, to being on her own.

She talked about being lonely with her GP, Dr Jawanda from Oakeswell Surgery and he suggested she gave Agewell a call.

Agewell Chair and volunteer befriender , Edna Barker visited Winnie once a week for six weeks. She also phoned her each week. They talked about Winnie’s interests and she said she’d always knitted, so Edna took her along to Agewell’s weekly ‘Talking Threads’ knitting group in Wednesbury.

Winnie really enjoys going.  “It’s lovely to go along and talk with everyone. I didn’t know any of them before and I’m much older than the others, but now we see each other each week,” she said.

Winnie also decided to become an Agewell member which means she can attend the monthly Forum meetings, which she finds very interesting. “We talk about what’s going on in Wednesbury,”she explained. “I wouldn’t know anything that was happening otherwise.

“Agewell has helped me out of a terribly low state and encouraged me to try new activities where I’m meeting other people.”

Edna knew only too well how Winnie was feeling when they first met. “I’ve been on my own for 17 years,” she explained. “One of the reasons I became a befriender was because I’ve been there and I know just how loneliness can affect your life, your sense of wellbeing and everything.

 “Winnie was feeling very lonely and down to begin with. Her husband had passed away about 10 months previously and it had been a big change for her. She’s an intelligent lady and she’s very savvy with computers – she even orders her groceries on-line. But the loneliness was eating away at her confidence.”

Summing up Winne said: “Agewell’s befriending service was just what I needed. They gave me the confidence to get me out and about and connected with other people again.”