Living alone: 'People don't understand how lonely we get'

Charities are helping to provide friends and assistants for elderly people who live alone. Credit: DPA

Winifred Green, 88, lives alone. She spoke to ITV News about her experience of loneliness.

People don't understand how lonely we get. I don't think you can understand when you're young because it seems so far in the future.

My husband died in 2002 and my family live in Ireland so can't come to see me very often.

The years went on and I would go for days and days without seeing anyone. I would just watch television every day until I fell asleep.

I used to cry my eyes out because I didn't have anyone to talk to. I didn't know what to do.

I was very fond of gardening but it got to the stage where I couldn't go outside any more.

I used to like to knit but one day I just couldn't be bothered.

The charity Independent Age has now arranged for a new friend, Ian, to visit once a week.

I look forward to it all week. I can't wait.

We talk about everything, absolutely everything. We talk about how I've been, what's going on in the country, and how Ian's job's going. He's lovely.

It makes such a difference, having something to look forward to.

I've tried to encourage other people I know to do the same because you can't keep going day after day without having anyone talking to you.

Winifred Green was speaking to Steve Gardner