Eileen had 58 years of a very happy marriage. They had no children and she has no family living near her. “Loneliness is like a bad dream and you cannot be woken, you can’t see the light of day. Every day is the same. Loneliness is like deadness. I feel abandoned. The hardest thing is going places alone surrounded by couples, so I tend to stay at home, “she says. Eileen uses Senior Help Line for company, she rings every week and looks forward to the contact. “We can chat about anything, and it is a great comfort when you are on your own,” she says.
‘I found retirement very difficult and didn’t know what to do with myself. I can’t remember where I heard about the help line, and I didn’t know what they could do for me. But I found it very helpful to tell someone how I was feeling. They listened and over time I began to feel better. Now I volunteer as a driver for our local hospital, and my wife and myself have days out together. Talking it over with someone that didn’t know me really helped’.
"I heard an interview about the help line on my local radio station about three years ago. I was feeling particularly down at the time and didn’t want to burden my family. So I phoned Senior Help Line and they were very nice. They let me talk, and at the end of the call, I felt better. Now I give them a ring from time to time. It’s a LoCall number so costs very little."
"This service is confidential. I am a private person and wouldn’t be telling my business to my neighbours. But I can feel alone since my wife died and sometimes you need someone to talk to. They are very good, they listen and treat you with respect. I’ve got into the habit of phoning once in a while. They’re like friends now."
74, West Cork
“I live on my own on the family farm though the animals are gone and I just have a few hens now. I have been phoning Senior Help Line for many years, and I phone very often. They are my friends. The nearest town is eleven miles away, there are very few houses around, so it can be very quiet. Being able to phone the help line means a lot. They all know me, I often don’t have a lot to say, but it’s great to talk about the match or the weather or whatever is going on.”
“I saw an ad for Senior Help Line in my doctor’s surgery and decided to phone. I had a problem I wanted to talk about and though it may sound strange to talk to strangers, it was just what I wanted. They were very good, they didn’t tell me what to do, they just listened, and I found myself able to explain it all – it was a family difficulty. Telling someone outside the family circle helped me to see things more clearly. I would phone again if I needed to”
“My husband died this year and it is taking me a long time to come to terms with it. My family felt I should be coping a bit better and I was feeling really down and useless. I had the number but never thought of phoning it until I lost my husband. I just needed someone to talk to, to be sad with really. They didn’t rush or hurry me. They let me talk and invited me to call back whenever I needed. It helped a lot, and I will phone again.”
“I phoned wanting information about my pension. I felt I was not getting all my entitlements. They gave me the right number to call, but more than that, they listened to my worries about making ends meet now. I phoned the Social Welfare people and they gave me a good steer. Senior Help Line can refer you to the right place, and they also listen if you want to talk about things in general. It is a service that people need.”