A Motherwell woman has shared her experience of being lonely as the Scottish Parliament launches its inquiry into social isolation.
After she was widowed some years ago Bunty Dickson’s family were a great support, but she felt increasingly lonely and isolated, experiencing a dramatic loss of confidence.
Supported by North Lanarkshire Council, Bunty (84) now takes part in twice-weekly local activity groups and that are making a positive difference to her quality of life.
Bunty said: “My husband, Alec, and I would’ve celebrated our 60th anniversary this year - we were always together.
“After he was diagnosed with dementia I cared for him for six years and it could be hard, but I just felt lost after he was gone.
“The loneliness was terrible - many of our friends had died and I just spent time watching TV. I didn’t see the point going out and lost confidence to do even little things.
“My doctor put me in touch with Luke, a locality link officer at the council, and he suggested meeting a group of people my own age.
“I was very nervous about the idea and said ‘no’, but kept in touch and started to think he was someone I could trust.
“Finally I agreed to give it a try. I met the group for lunch and went straight home afterwards, but I kept going every week and started enjoying it, staying a little longer.
“One day a lady came to the group who turned out to be an old friend. Alec and her husband were both railwaymen, so it was lovely to catch up.
“I’ve been going twice a week for a year now. My daughter says I was always a sociable person and she’s so impressed by the way my confidence is coming back.
“I still get anxious and nervous, but having new and old friends around makes all the difference.”