David’s Story

Rebuilding his life.

David* 64 – has lived on his own for most of his life – and battled with mental health issues. This often makes him feel isolated from society and desperately lonely.

David was a teacher at a secondary school, teaching English and Welsh; but gradually found he could no longer function as a teacher in public life. His plan was always to find strong and lasting friendships, but mental issues made it difficult for him to connect with people. He hasn’t worked for 15 years. Physically he is OK but mentally, just not able to work. He exists on £76 per week, being too young to access a pension and unable to navigate a complicated benefits system. He can’t afford a computer or wi-fi so cannot find out about his entitlements or ask for help online.

Life before lockdown

Before lockdown his only social interaction in the week would come from the local church where he would talk more about his faith. Then in March 2020 lockdown happened; which would see his social interaction decrease dramatically.

‘’Lockdown was very hard for me I had no help and would often stare at the walls.’’

After lockdown

After lockdown his local church groups didn’t restart, but he was eager to start something new. Then on one of his long walks he came across our Action For Elders ‘Tea & Chat’ poster, which caught his interest.

‘’After lockdown I wanted to attend more stuff as I live on my own all week. When I go to social events I tend to struggle to make conversation. Since I have been coming to the Tea and Chat I have really come out of my shell and gained confidence as well as making many new friends.’’

Winning the battle

David still walks the long way home (often for an hour and a half) so he doesn’t have to go home and be on his own. Yet, there is hope. Since meeting people at the Tea & Chat, he is starting to win the battle against the issues he has faced all his life. He only came out as gay two months ago, but after meeting sympathetic and like-minded people he is now comfortable talking about his issues with others.

“I’ve been able to make real friends, not just people you see for half an hour at a time. Thanks to Action For Elders and their Balanced Lives events I’m finally starting to rebuild my life in the local community.”

*The name has been changed in this story.

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