I saw this article in one of the Sunday papers a few months ago now (October 2014) - it moved me then as it still does. It featured Bob, a widower who had written a poem to his wife of 65 years.The article states:
This week it emerged that the number of men like Bob, who have outlived their wives and live alone, is growing. According to a report, the figure is set to rise by 65 per cent in the next 15 years, from 911,000 to 1.5 million by 2030.Men often feel loneliness more acutely than widows, as they tend to be more socially isolated. Nearly a quarter of older men have contact with their children less than once a month, compared with 15 per cent of older women.For Bob, however, the problem is not remoteness from his loved ones. He has two attentive daughters, Linda, 67, in Gloucestershire and Martine, 56, in Surrey; a son Robert, 65, in Australia; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Those he does not see regularly, he speaks to via the internet.His daily life is productive and busy. He is a tireless fundraiser, a steadfast volunteer; a devoted father and friend. It is simply the absence of Kath that troubles him. For when he closes the door of his bungalow near the New Forest in Hampshire, there is no remission from the loneliness. He still talks to Kath, but now there are no answers.
In August 2011, Dame Esther Rantzen DBE (who founded the children’s helpline ChildLine in 1986), wrote an article about the loneliness she has experienced since being bereaved, and living alone. She was overwhelmed by the huge response from older people who shared her experience. In November 2011 she was invited to make a key-note speech at a conference at which she came up with the idea of creating a helpline in order to support vulnerable older people, sign-post them to projects and services, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect.
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