Lifeline for coronavirus widow

A Lincolnshire woman, whose beloved husband of 38 years died after contracting coronavirus, has been offered vital support by a county befriending service – and has seen her life turn a corner as a result.

Age UK Lindsey Befriending Officer Guy Hall

Age UK Lindsey Befriending Officer Guy Hall contacted the widow, who is in her 50s, as part of the organisation’s ‘Keep Connected’ phone service, which has replaced its one-to-one home visits during the current crisis.

This service is growing in popularity and is continuing as a phone support and advice line.

When Guy phoned this lady, he said it was clear she required support.

Having recently moved to the county with her late husband, she didn’t know many people in her local area and whilst family were nearby, she had only been able to speak to them over the phone.

Guy said: “The loss of her husband has been understandably very traumatic for her, compounded by the manner in which he died and the lack of a meaningful funeral due to Covid restrictions.

“She has received support from her family over the telephone, however this fell well short of the face-to-face closeness she craved, and this has made her grieving all the more difficult.

“She had begun fearing leaving her house and didn’t want to burden her family or parents with her grief as she believed they were hurting enough.”

Seeing Guy as independent of her family circle really appeared to help her speak to him in confidence.

Guy added: “I encouraged her to obtain professional bereavement counselling and although initially reluctant, she agreed for me to make a referral on her behalf to CRUSE bereavement counselling service.

“After speaking with a representative and explaining the situation, she has been accepted and is currently receiving professional support.

“I have also encouraged her to take up a hobby and she has begun gardening.

“She has visited the garden centre and this has led her to be in the presence of others, but in a safe environment with her mind focused on the task in hand.

“I have also encouraged her to walk her dog.”

Guy continued: “This lady is slowly coming to terms with the loss of her husband with professional counselling and with my support through befriending.

“She is starting to gain her confidence in being in the presence of others and is gaining real enjoyment from gardening.

“She is really grateful for the support she has received, and this has made a big difference on the long journey of recovery.”

Over the last few weeks, the charity has spoken to scores of older people, many of them vulnerable, across East and West Lindsey and Northern Lincolnshire.

This telephone helpline is an Age UK Lindsey service that will continue, and grow, as the charity makes a number of changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

To support its Keep Connected service, Age UK Lindsey hopes to raise more money. To donate and help, please go to: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/aukl-covid-response

Despite having to make some cutbacks, the charity also continues to run its flagship Information and Advice Service, supporting older people through its telephone helpline with benefits advice and other information.

The charity’s shops in Spilsby and Market Rasen have also now reopened.

For more information go to www.ageuk.org.uk/lindsey or phone 01507 524242.