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Loneliness and Self-Care

BryherBryher Member Posts: 11 Connected

Today we are introducing Bryher Scudamore from The Silver Line, who has joined the Online Community as our Older People Advisor. Bryher can assist with queries on topics such as asking for help, accessing the right support, and caring for elderly relatives and friends. She talks to us today about tips for self-care when you’re feeling lonely.

Bryher has spent most of her career working on consumer issues both on local newspapers and then on the top rating BBC programme ‘That’s Life!” She now works with The Silver Line, the charity set up by Dame Esther Rantzen that is the only helpline available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year because sometimes it is the earliest hours of the morning that can be the most lonely and isolating because there is no-one else to talk to. Bryher was a trustee of the world famous Eden Project and is chair of a charity, Educational Dance Provision Services, which helps children and adults on the autistic spectrum to learn via movement. She has been happily married for 42 years.

elderly gentleman sat on a stone wall and looking into the distance

The Silver Line often receives calls from people struggling with loneliness. Loneliness can have a big impact on your health, and disabled people can find themselves isolated for all kinds of reasons. The Silver Line’s Founder and President, Dame Esther Rantzen was asked for five tips for looking after yourself for when you’re feeling low, and this is what she said:

"1. Pamper yourself – this is “me” time – enjoy it. It may be by buying a special box of chocolates, it may be by relaxing in a perfumed bubble bath, it may be watching a gorgeous Hollywood musical on tv – just indulge yourself. And remind yourself that if you were not alone you’d either have to share the chocs, or lock the bathroom door, or wrestle the remote control away from somebody else who complains that you’ve turned up the volume too high.

2. Every time you read some story in the papers that makes you laugh, or say “wow” to yourself, cut it out and save it for times when you need to distract yourself. Laughter is better than a face-lift.

3. I would love to keep a dog but my life-style doesn’t allow me to look after a dog as I would wish. So instead I watch the entrancing Dog Whisperer on cable TV.

4. Buy yourself an orchid. They survive most forms of ill treatment, you can say what you like to them and they won’t answer back.

5. Sorry to be didactic, but embrace technology. I know, I know, nothing beats having a real person to have a laugh and a cup of tea with, but you can travel the world via your computer. So nerve yourself to learn to send emails if you don’t already, and have Facetime conversations with friends and family.” (From Scope Community Team: Scope recognises that online forums can also act as a vital support service for disabled people, and we hope that our Online Community will always be a welcoming and comforting place for our members to turn to in times of need).

text graphic reading the silver line helpline for older people 0800 4 70 80 90 surrounded by a silver oval

If you have any suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear them. Do you have any tips for combatting loneliness or practicing self-care?

Bryher Scudamore
Older People Advisor
The Silver Line
Phone: 0800 4 70 80 90
Email: [email protected]
www.thesilverline.org.uk

Replies

  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello Thank you for this.  I struggle every day with my day what to do with it.  Being on my own and finding it a pain to interact.

    One of the aspects of loneliness is effecting all ages but where is the help and support.  I have written on my posts about all of this.  There are millions of us and it seems that we are getting worse.

    I wish if I go out today and some one starts to strike up a conversation.  I start to talk and well they do not listen or do want to know or even this walk away.  How and why is this happening.  You tell me.   

    I have had the experience of loneliness from other people.  When you buy and sell things.  You are advertising yourself and the business.  So the phone would ring it will always be some elderly lady got hold of my number.  Has nothing to sell when I get there.  Often out of the way places, hills and dales.  Lied to me on the phone in reality lonely.  See no one.  I would keep in touch till they all died.  None of them had family really sad.

    Has neighbours but young people and so I would become a lifeline to these ladies.  All living in remote, isolated communities.  Now in her day as she explained village full of community and a hub.  Left doors open and the rest, by way recognised the problem never got angry.  Always there even though it would take me couple hours some days.  The weather and all that.

    My good Christian self would try to reconcile with neighbours who my opinion did not want to know.  All I am really saying here is the community and society breaking down.

    Social contact for my self was well I had loads of friends but the question and the answers are that people move away.  People die.  Some reason well I am married now and I have my partner and children why would I want to talk to you.  Hang I stutter I have been there holding you hand, wiping your tears, listening to you.  Now everything is OK because you are now married.  I am OK on my own.  I will try to cope.

    Then phone rings got divorced need to come back in to the fold and lets my friendship start again.  So I have to cope and endure his misery and pain.  Not coping or thinking about me.  Had to grit my teeth are they worth it.  Pray for them and yet they are hurting me.

    Got rid of every one around last year all these fairweather friends.  Got one great mate does not bother me or me bother him .  If we need to talk will ring.  Problem is has a partner like myself but has severe problems.  So will only talk if I have to, lot of time taken up trying really to understand.  Which I am very supportive.

    How do I cope.

    I try to start the day with a prayer my thoughts are for those who have meaning.

    I do a light work out stretch and to Classic FM.  Nothing strenuous.

    I have the radio on plus a range of feel good music.  After looking at news so depressing do not even bother.

    Come on here early to speak or debate anything, then through the day.

    Have a warm bath with bath foam to relax me.  Some times I need to chill will use scented oils in a burner.

    Good breakfast that helps and a good evening meal. Being me spices of course

    Try to keep positive and have to look on TV anything up beat.

    I use my TV for educational purposes.  So anything, Art, Literature, Science, Music.  Documentaries that interest me.  Plus feel good films that make me smile.  The old ones, film noir,  MGM musicals.

    Harvey is on today with James Stewart on Film Four.  That is really good.  Yes it is about mental illness and how people in those days perceive it.  Yes it is a comedy but you have to smile.  James Stewart plays a guy who has a pookar a spirit in the shape of a six foot white rabbit only he can see.

    I use my bible to help.

    I also keep the bungalow clean and household duties.

    I hope that you understand if I went on a bit about my situation.  Most days I have  my problems and issues.  It is still hanging over my head as I go on into the future.  How it will change I do not know.  I have to admit this I am not a self centered person.  Spend more time caring about others than myself.  If I can help and advise one person like myself.  Then that makes my day and week.

    Take care every body





    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • mossmoss Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Keep your hobbies and switch from one to the others have lots of interest. I have been on my own for 25 years. Lonliness never goes away unless i make it by occupying my mind with something i like doing. I used to fill my time with work but as i have got older i struggle working as my disability is worsening with age.
  • BryherBryher Member Posts: 11 Connected
    Hello Thank you for this.  I struggle every day with my day what to do with it.  Being on my own and finding it a pain to interact.

    One of the aspects of loneliness is effecting all ages but where is the help and support.  I have written on my posts about all of this.  There are millions of us and it seems that we are getting worse.

    I wish if I go out today and some one starts to strike up a conversation.  I start to talk and well they do not listen or do want to know or even this walk away.  How and why is this happening.  You tell me.   

    I have had the experience of loneliness from other people.  When you buy and sell things.  You are advertising yourself and the business.  So the phone would ring it will always be some elderly lady got hold of my number.  Has nothing to sell when I get there.  Often out of the way places, hills and dales.  Lied to me on the phone in reality lonely.  See no one.  I would keep in touch till they all died.  None of them had family really sad.

    Has neighbours but young people and so I would become a lifeline to these ladies.  All living in remote, isolated communities.  Now in her day as she explained village full of community and a hub.  Left doors open and the rest, by way recognised the problem never got angry.  Always there even though it would take me couple hours some days.  The weather and all that.

    My good Christian self would try to reconcile with neighbours who my opinion did not want to know.  All I am really saying here is the community and society breaking down.

    Social contact for my self was well I had loads of friends but the question and the answers are that people move away.  People die.  Some reason well I am married now and I have my partner and children why would I want to talk to you.  Hang I stutter I have been there holding you hand, wiping your tears, listening to you.  Now everything is OK because you are now married.  I am OK on my own.  I will try to cope.

    Then phone rings got divorced need to come back in to the fold and lets my friendship start again.  So I have to cope and endure his misery and pain.  Not coping or thinking about me.  Had to grit my teeth are they worth it.  Pray for them and yet they are hurting me.

    Got rid of every one around last year all these fairweather friends.  Got one great mate does not bother me or me bother him .  If we need to talk will ring.  Problem is has a partner like myself but has severe problems.  So will only talk if I have to, lot of time taken up trying really to understand.  Which I am very supportive.

    How do I cope.

    I try to start the day with a prayer my thoughts are for those who have meaning.

    I do a light work out stretch and to Classic FM.  Nothing strenuous.

    I have the radio on plus a range of feel good music.  After looking at news so depressing do not even bother.

    Come on here early to speak or debate anything, then through the day.

    Have a warm bath with bath foam to relax me.  Some times I need to chill will use scented oils in a burner.

    Good breakfast that helps and a good evening meal. Being me spices of course

    Try to keep positive and have to look on TV anything up beat.

    I use my TV for educational purposes.  So anything, Art, Literature, Science, Music.  Documentaries that interest me.  Plus feel good films that make me smile.  The old ones, film noir,  MGM musicals.

    Harvey is on today with James Stewart on Film Four.  That is really good.  Yes it is about mental illness and how people in those days perceive it.  Yes it is a comedy but you have to smile.  James Stewart plays a guy who has a pookar a spirit in the shape of a six foot white rabbit only he can see.

    I use my bible to help.

    I also keep the bungalow clean and household duties.

    I hope that you understand if I went on a bit about my situation.  Most days I have  my problems and issues.  It is still hanging over my head as I go on into the future.  How it will change I do not know.  I have to admit this I am not a self centered person.  Spend more time caring about others than myself.  If I can help and advise one person like myself.  Then that makes my day and week.

    Take care every body






    Bryher Scudamore
    Older People Advisor
    The Silver Line
    Phone: 0800 4 70 80 90
    Email: [email protected]
    www.thesilverline.org.uk
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Member Posts: 7,732 Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the community @Bryher :)
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @moss Pleased to meet you.  I used to have hobbies have nothing now.  Tired of doing them.  I suppose my interests just waned.  Also got put off by people who were critical of my talents and a load of jealousy.

    Done list A to Z of hobbies.  I thought join groups what is the point of that if you end up being slated by interfering people.  I liked to been meeting people in these hobby groups, ended up more alone than ever.

    Feel the chill a million miles from smiles.  Even though I was lone in these hobby groups, still persisted till the group leader told me you are putting off people.

    Here we go again I murmured the disabled card again being played.  I have my money back then.  Paid up front for sessions.

    Then I thought what I am doing here anxiety starting and even I said to myself.  What the hell are you doing and spending more money on some thing I wish to do to make my feel not lonely.

    It is not working.  Recent one gym membership.  Taking me a year to sort that one out.  I am all for an inclusive all embracing society.  Breaking down barriers and all the rest.  When you have some silly women running a group we have sessions on another date.  Then I turn up no one here.  The receptionist says.

    More interested in the day finishing and not at all helpful.  Then there was the time all the painting class went on a different day.  It was said because they felt in the group leaders eyes I was off putting people again his attitude.

    Went on my usual night no one there.  Certain organisations have services for people in our community to do hobbies and interests.  All I get is bullied and harassed and it hurts all the time.

    It is great you have been on your own 25 years so have I .  All I want is a peace of mind and to be loved and be needed.  Find some one like me.  To be respected.  I do not want to live on my own, grow old die old and be alone when I do.  I do not wish that on anybody.

    As part of my business was dealing with peoples loved ones who had gone and their estates.  Understanding, compassion for all I met and yet many of them died alone.

    I respect and honour your views and opinions of anybody.  The issue here is this also if we as a community see no one for long periods.  Then our mental health will suffer, had this couple months ago not used to interacting people and places.  Became emotional and scared to be with people.  I can feel it all the time.

    Had a I recall one time a lad I knew could not cope and got stressed about seeing women in a social setting.  Not only that he became distressed all because he never ever spoke to any ladies, women, girls any where.  Just did not ever spoke to.  Had an life of isolation.  The only lady he ever met was his mother.

    Since she died he had to struggle and cope and deal with this problem interacting.  His attitude was very upsetting to me.  Because he would for example not get in my car if I had a neighbour in it.  Who was a lady next door at the time who was disabled.  Abusive to her and me.

    Plus other issues like wanted a male to serve him at shops ,his doctors requested male ones.   I had relationships with ladies some times he would never go around or ask to be invited for social visits.

    I apologise for long post and I am sure you understand.  It nice to have met you Take care.
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • BryherBryher Member Posts: 11 Connected
    Thank you @thespiceman. Remember, if you are feeling lonely or know of others who would like to have a chat then don't hesitate to contact The Silver Line 0800 4 70 80 90.  They are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and would love to speak to you.
    Bryher Scudamore
    Older People Advisor
    The Silver Line
    Phone: 0800 4 70 80 90
    Email: [email protected]
    www.thesilverline.org.uk
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,090 Pioneering
    I have tried to deal with loneliness but don't have the time or enthusiasm.

    I have to walk using 2 sticks around my home because I am not allowed a property I can use my wheelchair in because I CAN walk a little. I use 2 sticks so cannot carry anything (meals, etc.) but am blacklisted and banned from having carers because a Social Worker made some horrendous mistakes and they protected her by lying about me. I cannot cook very well or clean at all so, despite paying for a cleaner, my place is dirtier than I would like because even cleaners are expensive now. I tried MEETUP but it is aimed at healthy people so I always felt left out. I got fed up not eating properly so I go to a disability centre again so I get hot meals and time with my own kind even though this causes me a lot of additional pain. My family are completely disinterested in helping me. I suffer a lot more now I go to the disability centre because the hospitals covered their mistakes by refusing me the surgery I need and GP's are frightened to change my medication levels because they don't understand what is wrong with me and are scared of the high levels of pain meds I already use.

    Yesterday was such a bad day (pain, loneliness, futility & miserableness) that I don't understand why I didn't OD.... again.

    I am not even ALL that old so things are only going to get worse especially as my condition(s) are progressive.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Bryher Thank you for reply.  Please can I ask you a question.  How old do you have to be part of the Silver Service Line?  

    I notice you deal with older people how old is old.

    I say this because I am lonely and see and speak to very few people. Also the big issue is also this.  If have problems, issues if you are 60 plus plenty of support.  Nothing before that, finding this out.

    Left mental health charity loads of help and advice.  I know I can join AGE UK be ideal.  I am 53, guess what told too young only except people 60 plus.

    Sent an E mail and rang the help line.  Spoke to one of your advisors.  Who said limit is put into place at 60 plus.  I try to argue that the age limit should be fifty I said that.

    Got a lot of negative vibes.  I stressed that people are retiring early, having loneliness problems.  If you work till 50 plus get offered early retirement.  That is good but then the social aspect of work has gone has it not.

    As a friend I knew found out, thought he could come back to the office for visits and see every body.  Did this once and this letter arrived saying you have left.  Can not come back words to that effect, so he has lost all them people.

    He had some numbers of former colleagues but as I said I had this as well when you leave.  They do not wish to know any body any more.

    Also many disability, mental health services are so limited now and budgets tight.  Had a quick look around on the web the other day.  Still this is helping all the time.

    Please can I thank you.  Nice to talk to you.
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Topkitten   I thought send you a message of support and how can I be of any help.

    I say this because I do understand things and the days you have.  A lot of my posts.

    I have to carry on.  It gets to me some days my emotions and feelings.  I can suggest advice and give you information that may be useful.  I struggle like yourself.  That is the hard part.  Accepting help and support from others.

    Spend more time and concern for others and really should care about me.  I am not like that any way.  Love to the people on here and like if I can be useful.

    I have to be honest about how I am feeling.  Acceptance a bit part of getting older.

    Little things like cleaning the idea of it, then I use it to exercise.  With some music, helps me.  A room a day.  Need to do today.  Small steps.  Never paid anybody to do my houses too expensive and not a good job.

    Meals the same have to eat so I have recipes that are simple to do.  If you wish only trying to assist here.  I can put them on your wall if that is what you wish to do.  Have done this recently for a few people who asked me for recipe swaps.  Simple no fuss food.

    I am like your self and do recognise the problems and issues.  Just a guy who is caring and concerned for your welfare.  I am similar in lots of things, but only you understands you.

    I have days of boredom, get down and depressed.  Have no get up and go.  Winter does not help.  Cold weather.

    This helps me if wish to have a private chat go on to my wall.  I learnt to do this.  I am have time to listen.  Do you have time to listen to me?  Take care.
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,090 Pioneering
    Thank for the kind words @thespiceman but what I actually need is practical help from a system that seems to push me into an early death. I thought they were supposed to help us.

    The medication has flattened out today and yesterday so I guess tomorrow will be bad again. It doesn't help that one or two of the ladies I meet to get away from things for a while have been causing me grief. Enough that I need to take a break from even the ones that don't. Then suddenly I get an email from a very gorgeous and quite a lot younger lady, well out of my league, basically saying we must get together.

    I don't think I will EVER understand women, lol!

    Hopefully I will get through tomorrow.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • RolandRoland Member Posts: 34 Courageous
    If you are able (physically and financially) get yourself a pet.  Even a goldfish or a tortoise can provide a degree of company and somebody to talk to!
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,090 Pioneering
    Personally I would never get a pet I could not look after properly. This rules out most pets. The there are the medication crashes I am currently experiencing which cause me to completely lose most of a day every 3 to 4 days. That rules out almost all the rest. The very few left are not going to help me feel better

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • BryherBryher Member Posts: 11 Connected
    @thespiceman I am sorry that you're not able to use The Silver Line.  Since our launch nearly five years ago we have answered more than 1.7 million calls
    but our funding means we are restricted to helping people 60+. Every month the number of older people calling us grows and so we know that the service is much needed. We also know that loneliness and isolation are not age-related and that there are a lot of younger people who suffer terribly from loneliness. 

    From your thoughtful message to Topkitten it seems as though you have worked out some solutions for your own predicament. I am not sure if you are able to get out much but one of my colleagues mentioned two groups that might be worth considering, Men in Sheds and the University of the Third Age, both of the accept men ( and women) over 50.
    https://menssheds.org.uk/
    www.u3a.org.uk
    I hope this helps a little.

    Bryher Scudamore
    Older People Advisor
    The Silver Line
    Phone: 0800 4 70 80 90
    Email: [email protected]
    www.thesilverline.org.uk
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Bryher Thank you for reply and information.  I did go to the Men in Shed organisation.  It comes under the Cree Project in The North East.  Which is the same organisation.

    Unfortunately one of my great problems is interaction.  I have great difficulty being with certain shall we say people who see me my disability and not me as a person.

    This is one of the set backs and have many issues and problems with either leaders of these groups or the actual people.  I thought they were like me.  At the first meeting it was we all want to do this and that no asking around.

    You might be not aware of this but it is happening hence the lack of people attending these support groups.  I usually found it is a retired executive who still thinks he is the boss and likes to control every body and those who are a less of person like myself.

    As I said to one guy who behaved like this you are our level now.  Attitudes are never the same.  There is a mix and match of backgrounds and social standings which how it should be.  I could not find a footing.

    To the extent I had to report one guy running the show, so bad every thing from bullying to harassment to backing into my car causing extensive damage.  Loss of some of my benefit because he would not help me and play ball as they say.  So I had to pay car excess.

    Funny thing did again to some one else called the police.  I should have done but I was scared of him.  I am still annoyed and have to the past three years or more been to several of these projects and ended up being frightened for my safety.

    I have met several members since who have said it was not me but the set up.  Also I am a gentleman of a certain age like certain things yet were subjected to abuse and torment by some people who think all men should be men.  This included sports and pastimes and other social events like drinking and the rest.

    Do not get me wrong that is up to you I would say, I enjoy others pursuits that still means you are a male a gentleman.  I like certain sport and pastimes not like yours I uttered to this abusive lad.

    So there is the reasons.  Each to your own but please stop hurting me because I like some thing different.

    I will look at the other item you mentioned.  I like learning.  Sounds interesting.

    Please can I thank your support take care
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • RolandRoland Member Posts: 34 Courageous
    @thespiceman have you tried any of the MenSpeak groups? https://www.meetup.com/menspeak/
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Roland Pleased to meet you.  Thank you for information.  Much appreciated let me have a look.  

    Hope you are OK Take care
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • JenniferUJenniferU Member Posts: 124 Courageous
    Hi all, just saw this thread so thought I'd post about an event I'm running. It's tomorrow so a bit short notice, but if any of you live in or near Hackney, London, you are very welcome! 

    A sociable art class with a difference. Not-So-Still Life aims to bring together older and younger people in Hackney through shared creativity.

    Are you a young professional living in Hackney who would like to connect with older people in your borough who might be feeling lonely or isolated?

    Or are you an older person who feels a bit disconnected from the influx of new people to Hackney over the last decade?

    Come along to Not-So-Still Life and connect with your fellow Hackney neighbours in a friendly, sociable and safe space whilst unleashing your creativity.

    Our Let's Get Fruity drawing class will be set up in a cafe style environment at the brilliant new Core Clapton venue, a beacon for social enterprise activities with community at its heart. The event will be facilitated by Jenny Urwin, Hackney resident and community arts professional who can offer drawing tips and support throughout. 

    You don't need to have any artistic experience, just a willingness to get stuck in. The venue is fully accessible, all art materials are provided and there will be tea and coffee available. Tickets are £6.50/ £3 for 65+.  A delightful start to a Saturday!

    Hope to see you there.

    Jenny

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/not-so-still-life-lets-get-fruity-drawing-in-hackney-tickets-43109743403
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