We asked 82-year-old Pat, who's lived on her own for 20 years, what she's missed most since the Coronavirus crisis forced her indoors...

Seeing family (in real life)

My niece bought me a phone so we could video call on Whatsapp on my birthday. It was quite funny - I didn’t know how to use it, but I must’ve picked it up because, all of a sudden, there she was on the screen! She was very impressed with me, but I don’t think I could do it again. It was a total accident.

Keeping up with technology

When it comes to technology, I know some people who just don’t want to know, but I’d love to be able to use it properly, even if it’s just the basics. I’ll never be a whiz with phones, but I don’t like feeling left behind.

I used to be able to catch on quick, I was first in almost every subject at school. I was great at sports. I used to demonstrate the long jump for other classes. To be honest, I just used to throw myself and land on the other side, but it must have been right!

Nowadays I’m longing to get rid of my walking stick. How I’d love to just throw it away and walk out the door. I’d really love that. I was sporty all my life. Sometimes I do wonder what happened, but I suppose you just get older, don’t you?

Volunteering in my local charity shop

Before the pandemic, I’d been working in my local charity shop. I used to work there all through the 90s. When my brother passed away from cancer three years ago, I went back to work there because I felt like I was doing it for him and everyone else like him.

I’m only there for two hours but I love it. I like meeting people and because I talk a lot, I was always good in the shop! I always say to customers “You have to excuse me, I know I talk a lot, but I live on my own so I have to catch up!” It always makes them laugh.

People always tell me that I don’t look 82. A lady recently said I could pass for 20 years younger. Now, that’s pushing it, isn’t it? It’s funny but many people my age wouldn’t want to be younger in this world. Everything’s so different now. Who would have believed this time last year that the world would be like this? If only my parents could look down, they wouldn’t know what to make of it!

Enjoying nature

This year has been hard. I love nature and trees, but I haven’t been able to see any at all. I spotted some trees on my way back from the hospital the other day before I got in the cab. The leaves were all shiny from the rain and looked so lovely.

Being a chatterbox

I’ve lived alone for over 20 years. You do get fed up with it, but I think when you’ve lived alone for so long, it would be hard to live with someone else. There are lots of us living by ourselves. I can go out and speak to whoever, but a lot of people can’t do that and I worry about them. It’s not that they don’t want to - I expect that they’d love to. They just can’t.

I’m naturally a chatterbox. If I went to the supermarket and saw an old man on his own, I’d start up a conversation because he might not have a chance to speak to anyone all day. It’s such a shame.

Getting a call companion really made all the difference for me; knowing that people care about you. I live alone so having someone ask how you’re doing… it does my heart so much good. You’re able to have a really good natter.

If only everyone could get a phone call, I think it could make a real difference.






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