90-year-old Derek Taylor went from lonely to leading his city’s “Age-Friendly” initiative
When 90-year-old Derek Taylor’s partner and sister both died, he was, understandably, lonely.
Age UK statistics show that in the UK, where Taylor lives, 12 percent of people over 65 say they never spend time with friends. Nine percent say they feel entirely cut off from society, and a truly alarming 50 percent feel that TV is their main source of company.
Rather than become a statistic, Taylor set out to do something about his loneliness. The result? He wrote a heartwarming list of his top 10 tips for combating loneliness, which was picked up and distributed by his city council. After the BBC caught on to the story and published a video about Taylor, his advice started going viral, and for good reason — even though it was aimed at seniors, it’s just great advice for anyone of any age.
“From time to time we can all feel lonely. I’d like to share my top ten tips, which helped me feel less lonely,” Taylor wrote in a leaflet that was distributed by the Manchester City Council. His tips are:
1. Make an effort to make new friends
2. Join a hobbies club
3. Visit your local community or resource centre and find out what’s on offer
4. Learn to use a computer at your local library
5. Seek help from your local social services
6. Consider taking in a lodger or paying guest
7. Use your telephone more often to contact people; don’t wait for people to contact you
8. Contact friends and relatives you haven’t spoken to recently
9. Make friends with your neighbors
10. Do voluntary work if you are able to
Now, Taylor is part of a city council sponsored group called Age-Friendly, working with other seniors to make Manchester a welcoming town for all ages. He’s also followed his own advice and pursued hobbies like gardening and coffee clubs.
“Coffee mornings are an ideal chance to discuss current events, including plans for future projects for the over-50s, and how homes and neighbourhoods can be designed to be age-friendly,” he wrote in Age-Friendly’s latest booklet. “You feel as though you’re alive again.”
Taylor’s advice is great for seniors, but also for every other age. Simply taking charge by picking up the phone or joining a new club can be all it takes to stave off loneliness, and Taylor is the perfect inspiration to do so.