Call us now on

0800 201 4811

Combating Loneliness: A Homeowner’s Experience

Gina Narramore

Gina Narramore



The passing of a life-long partner is, of course, devastating and changes your life irrevocably. Regardless of how near they lived to you, or how resilient your character, a feeling of loneliness is inevitable following your loss. 

Sylvie Morgan, 73, is now a proud McCarthy & Stone homeowner, but experienced just this when her husband passed away from Parkinson’s Disease in 2014; “there was a realisation on my part that I was now properly alone … I had a great support network of friends. My two daughters did not live far away. I was comfortable. I had everything I needed, and yet something was missing”.

Earlier this year, here at McCarthy & Stone we commissioned some research into attitudes towards loneliness. Just like one-fifth of the over-65s we polled, Sylvie did not want to be a burden on her family, feeling as if they had enough issues of their own to deal with: “it’s really easy to feel like everyone else around you is constantly busy and you’re the only one that’s not, but most of the time you only see what they want you to see or what they post on social media”.

“I needed to kick-start a new direction for my life”

Sylvie decided to take matters into her own hands. She organised a trip to Tenby, Wales, with her local Parkinson’s group, which had supported her throughout her husband’s illness. While visiting the area a couple of months in advance to check out the hotel, she stumbled across McCarthy & Stone’s Paxton Court development.

“The idea of moving had never crossed my mind. I didn’t know a soul in Tenby but when I saw the retirement properties available there, I felt this sudden rush of excitement. Could I really leave behind everything I knew – my home – and start again on a whim? Well why not? I said to myself! … It’s not about looking for sympathy or wallowing; it’s about making the best of what you’ve been given, and doing something for you.”

Shortly afterwards, Sylvie took the brave decision to sell her three-bedroom cottage in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, and move to a two-bedroom Retirement Living apartment at Paxton Court in Tenby. Set in the heart of a picture-postcard walled seaside town, here she could make the most of communal spaces such as a cosy homeowners’ lounge and beautifully landscaped gardens, with a dedicated house manager on hand at all times to support her. 

“It was like a family affair from day one!”

“It’s totally changed my life for the better”, says Sylvie. “You never feel lonely in a place like this. Whether you’re at a loose end, popping down to the laundry room or off out for the day, you will always bump into people who stop for a chat, ask you how you are, or join you for a cuppa. It’s a fantastic mix of people from all walks of life, but there’s this understanding among us all that we’re there for each other and I really like that.”

Having lived at Paxton Court for the last two years, Sylvie says she has no regrets. Like 4 in 10 of those we asked, she has made a concerted effort to volunteer, involving herself with the RNLI and the local museum. Similarly, like 1 in 10 of those surveyed, Sylvie has started dating again and has met a new partner. 

Her grandchildren also come to visit regularly: “In a way, I think they see me differently than they did before. I’m active. I’ve got a busy social life, a boyfriend, lots of hobbies and commitments outside of Paxton Court. Sometimes they tell me I’ve got a busier social life than them!”

“Try something totally different”

Reflecting on her experience, Sylvie says the one piece of advice she would give to an older person who might be feeling lonely would be to try something new; “There is so much life to be lived. Go out into your community, volunteer, join local groups, start a new hobby. Whatever it is, do not be anxious or scared about meeting new people, and if it doesn’t work, try something else!”

She also couldn’t recommend Retirement Living highly enough: “It’s the security of knowing that you own your own home. You have complete privacy and independence, but with the peace of mind that you are surrounded by like-minded people who you can call on when you need to. Also you can go away without any worry of your property being ok.”

“A gesture these days means so much, but a lot of people don’t realise it”

During our research, we found that a resounding 68% agreed that a small action from others would make all the difference to how lonely they feel. Just under half said a “good morning” from a neighbour would help them to feel less lonely, whilst for 39%, a cheery wave from a neighbour would signal an improvement.

This is the exact focus of our #TakesOne2018 campaign. We are asking people to pledge to perform one everyday action to help an elderly member of their community, and to share this on our live pledge wall.

Check out #TakesOne2018 on social media for more information and details about how to get involved.

Make A Pledge To Put An End To Loneliness In The Older Generation
Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles


How To Manage Your Diet In Retirement

There are many extra demands placed on our bodies as we progress through life and because of this our nutritional needs also change as a result. It is never too late to revamp your nutrition and nurture your body with a healthier diet.   ...Read more


Tackling loneliness among older people with Pen Pals

We understand the problem of loneliness amongst older people and we want to do something to combat it. That’s why we have created our latest Pen Pals programme, an outlet to connect older people with other older people in communities by the writing and exchanging of letters. Click to find out more. ...Read more


How To Make New Friends In Retirement

Friendship is hugely important at every stage in life, and retirement is no exception. What’s more, in retirement you could make the most of the extra free time you have to discover different experiences and meet new people – leading to new friendships and relationships.  ...Read more


Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more


Wally & The Flying Scotsman

Popular North Gate Court customer Wally Blazey moved into their McCarthy & Stone apartment with his wife Gladys seven months ago, and the couple have just celebrated their 72nd anniversary. At 92, Wally is one of the two last surviving drivers of the Flying Scotsman, the most famous steam locomotive in the world. ...Read more


The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more


Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more


Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more


The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more


Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more


5 Recipes For A Royal Wedding

We look into the perfect recipes to pair with a royal wedding. We've picked out the most delicious, as well as the quintessentially British for the special occasion! ...Read more


The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more


Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more


Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more


Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more


Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more


How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more


Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more


Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more


How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more


Return of the Spider Plant

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them ...Read more


Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more


Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more


What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more


The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more


Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more


Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more


5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more



Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more


A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more


40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more


Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more


Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more


Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more