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On The Shelf by Ronsee

Community Member
I am a young 86 years of age but usually taken for about 70. and married for 62 years. As neighbours near London we started school together in January 1936 aged 5 then went through life together as school mates, friends, lovers, then married - a relationship of 79 years. Married in London in 1953 and moved to Tasmania in 1954. My wife suffered from Alzheimer's and was a resident of a nursing home for 4 years and
passed away in July 2015.
We moved from Tasmania to Queensland's Sunshine Coast in 2012 due to her failing health and to be closer to family. As a pastor I retired from church ministry in June 2014 following a stroke, but have since acted as a chaplain at a nursing home. I walk and swim daily and learning line dancing. I have one daughter, 3 granddaughters and 6 great grandchildren.

I have spent my life helping and serving others but now need some help myself. For two years I have suffered from loneliness, particularly
of an evening as I can’t drive at night. I am depressed, lonely, and seem unable to fill that void in my life. I miss that physical contact -
holding hands, a hug and a kiss. I've tried Internet dating without success as no one is interested in an 86-year-old man. I don't seem to mix well socially as everyone I meet have their own friends or partners. Advice was to join a men's shed which wasn't really helpful for someone my age and interests but suggested this forum. Are there others of advanced years who are active yet also feel alone and on the shelf?
12 Replies 12

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ron~

It's ironic that someone that has spent their life helping others and been so publicly commended finds himself in your situation.

You mention depression, though I suspect that may be a result of your social isolation. Whatever the cause a visit to your GP could not go astray, setting out your thoughts and symptoms.

I only have one suggestion that might have practical merit - undertake a course of study. While you might not find another soulmate it is at least an area when you will expect to find a cross section of society, and depending upon the discipline you select then persons of similar interests. It will also provide occupation and interest. With your background and obvious intellect I'm sure you would be equal to the challenge.

As you will be aware courses are available in everything from acting to zoology.

May I wish you warm thoughts and encouragement


Community Member

Hi Croix,

Thanks for that advice. Unfortunately there is little available at U3A or TAFE in my area that would be suitable other than languages which wouldn't suit. Will keep looking.

Thanks Ron

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Roncl, wow just wow. What a lovely story of you are your wife. Much respect there.

I am sorry to hear that things have not been that great of late and as I about half your age, I cannot begin to think what it would be like. I can however say that I know what depression is like and I wholeheartedly agree with Croix above in that I would love for you to get along to the GP and have a discussion about it. It is fully treatable and will be well worth your time.

As far as meeting new people go, are there any Church groups that meet? I am not religious so i do not know what goes on in that space.

You have done so much wonderful work in your life and deserve some coming back at you without doubt.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Ron, what a great achievement and such an incredible age, I'm not quite there yet, but isn't there someone when you go to line dancing that interests you or are they rather reclusive themselves.
To be married for 62 years and the r/ship lasting 79 years is an extraordinary effort which has to mean that you are lonely, I'm so sorry, but perhaps you could put an ad in your local newspaper, I often see people of all ages advertising in the local for a partner.
Go to your local council who will provide different sorts of clubs to join, or in a shopping complex they normally have a billboard, where people can leave messages or read other left messages, it's amazing what you will find. Geoff.

Community Member

Thanks MarkJT and Geoff for your comments. My GP suggested I seek help from a psychologist but can't get an appointment until August. Your comments and concerns are appreciated - believe me I have tried everything without any success as my age is always the barrier yet it is just a number. I would like to hear from any other octogenerians who feel lonely and 'on the shelf'. I have taken 6 cruises on my own and it would be so nice to go down to dinner with a nice lady on my arm. I have 2 more cruises booked and have to pay two fares for a cabin - surely there must be someone in a similar situation.

Thanks for your kind concerns and come on you octogenerians - where are you?


Community Member

Gee Ron, I wish I was an octogenerian, as it sounds kind of fun! But alas I am only in my 50's. Despite the obvious loneliness since the loss of your dear wife, you still lead a very full, giving and worthwhile life by the sound of things. Good on you for giving so much to others throughout your life and career.

I hope that when you finally get to see your psych in August that it proves to be of some benefit to you. I see you have checked out the U3A in your local area. I am currently doing an art class through them, and find the organisation to be well run, affordable and having lots of interesting classes available for over 55's. In fact my art class has one lovely lady who is over 80, and a gentleman who is well into his 70's.

In the temporary absence of a close lady friend Ron, it is important that you continue to do things you enjoy. And you are obviously doing that. The cruises sound fantastic. I have been on two in my life, and thoroughly enjoyed both.

Keep looking Ron, someone is out there for you. You are likely to stumble upon them when you least expect it. Love is usually like that, and often companionship is too.

All the best to you.


Community Member

Thanks Taurus for your encouragement. I'm sure that 'that someone' is out there and will meet when I least expect it. But oh for a large dose of faith and hope.

Kind regards, Ron

Community Member
Hi Ron

I’d also like to welcome you to Beyond Blue and to thank you for coming here, providing your post and also catching up on your responses so far.

I know you’ve been told this before on here, and no doubt, so many times in your life, but WOW, and that wow comes from just the very brief snippet you provided to us on this site. I couldn’t begin to think of all the times you’ve had and the life you’ve lived, which actually brings me to a point or suggestion … though it’s a fairly long term project and one that may not be actually suited to you, as it’d mean I think spending a lot of time in front of a computer and the like.

What I’m thinking of is to pen down or type down your life? A number of years ago, my Dad was beginning to do this … he never had any access to a computer or anything like that, so he’d write it down and then post it to me. I’d type it up and so began his story. We got a fair bit of it done with all his early days (he was born in 1923) and he’d just got up to the part where he met Mum at a local dance (way back when) and he then wasn’t able to write anymore.

I was able to complete what I’d done and made it into a book, complete with photos, etc … but sadly Dad never saw it. I provided copies of it to my Mum and my brother.

Sorry, that was a bit off track for your post and thoughts.

You know, I was going to suggest cruising as well, but you’ve already beaten me to the punch there. I’ve been on 4 with my own family and we’ve got another lined up in early 2018. Really love them.

With regard to your swimming, I’m gathering that’s at a local pool? I’m guessing there’s no other folk there around your age keen for a chat or a coffee or something after the swim session? Likewise with walks, do you stay on the same route and same time of day or do you vary the location and time? Ie: as someone else mentioned, you never know where or when you could bump into someone.

I hope I’ve got room for two other suggestions: Bingo or Housie … not sure if you’re into those, but those can be frequented by people from all age brackets … oh and lawn bowls? Any of those clubs close by? The last thing I was going to mention was the possibility of a pet? But then, that could possibly tie you down a bit, with regard to holidays and trips away, unless your daughter or other relations may be able to pet-sit for you?

Would love to hear back from you.


Community Member

Hi Neil,

Thank you so much for your detailed and comprehensive comments and suggestions. Writing my life story has been exercising my mind for a long time at the suggestion of my family and I must make a start. I'm well versed with computers as spent many years in IT training seniors and recycling computers for the disabled; also maintaining a weekly world-wide online ministry to several thousand, now in its 22nd year - the Queen gave me a gong for all that.

My cruising program gives me pleasure - at least for their duration - as I meet new people, but there are sill social and economic problems having to cruise alone. Not into pets but unable anyway as not allowed in my mature age village. Having spent many hours as chaplain at the local nursing home calling for bingo - I've had my fill of that.

I'm very fortunate to enjoy good health; I have a good head of hair and don't look anything like my age but there is still that social barrier of being 86 - it's a deterent when trying to establish online relationships.

However, I will continue trying to overcome loneliness and the resultant depression and will follow all worthwhile suggestions through this forum. A problem shared is a problem halved and I thank you and Beyond Blue for providing that opportunity.

Kind regards, Ron