How the People’s Postcode Lottery is helping to fund a life without loneliness

Separated from his wife Jean during the pandemic, Kevin Jones has felt periods of extreme loneliness and isolation. Find out how funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery is helping us provide support for Kevin and others like him.

Kevin Jones sitting outside

‘It was love at first sight,’ said 71-year old Kevin about his 80-year old wife, Jean. The pair met in the 1990s and retired in 2000, with Jean spending her days doing crosswords and listening to opera. ‘My only regret,’ said Kevin, ‘is that I had not met Jean 50 years ago, instead of only 30.’

In December 2016, Kevin noticed that Jean was acting unusually. A few months later, she was diagnosed with dementia with Lewy-bodies, which can cause problems with attention and movement.

Today, Jean lives in a care home. Before the pandemic, Kevin went to visit her everyday. ‘I was made part of the family,’ he said. ‘It was amazing.’

But when lockdown happened, Kevin could no longer visit Jean. Every Sunday morning, he travels to the care home and stands outside Jean’s window. At the time of writing, because of continued cases of the virus, he still hasn’t been able to hold her hand. Being separated from Jean has been heart-breaking.

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‘I’m devastated when I come home to an empty flat,’ says Kevin. ‘I just sit on a chair and cry.’ 

‘I’d give anything to be able to sit by her side, hold her hand and give her a kiss.’ 

Kevin Jones and his wife Jean

Tackling loneliness in people affected by dementia

Over the last year and a half, social isolation has meant that the numbers of people like Kevin who are feeling unbearably lonely has skyrocketed. 

What if you could alleviate the devastating effects of loneliness? For the last five years, funding thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been helping us do just that.

Since 2016, Alzheimer’s Society has received an extraordinary £2.97 million from the organisation. Their wide-ranging support has helped us reach hundreds of thousands of people navigating the complex challenges of dementia. 

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery also contributed significantly towards our Emergency Appeal. The Appeal was launched at the start of the pandemic in response to the catastrophic impact coronavirus was having on people affected by dementia

The support helped people access crucial information when many services shut down. From helping people get their food shopping, to providing a friendly voice at a time when one in eight people with dementia went for at least a week without talking to anyone for more than five minutes.

Comfort and companionship

One of the services supported by the Emergency Appeal was Companion Calls. These regular calls, designed to alleviate loneliness and provide companionship, are run by friendly volunteers. 

For Kevin, who has been devastated at being separated from his wife Jean during the pandemic, and not having anyone around him who truly understands his situation, these calls have offered much-needed comfort and relief. 

Kevin gets weekly Companion Calls from volunteer Rachel. ‘Rachel was my only light at the end of the tunnel,’ he said. ‘It was all I had from March to August – some weeks she was the only person I spoke to. And she still calls every week, it’s amazing. She has been a listening ear, and very supportive. 

‘I can say how I feel, how I miss Jean. She never judges me or criticises, she just listens. I’m truly thankful for those calls.’

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, people like Kevin have had access to support through periods of extreme loneliness and isolation. ‘This is an incredibly distressing time,’ Kevin said. ‘But Alzheimer’s Society and their supporters have been there for me every step of the way.’

Long-term supporters

By extending their hand in the most challenging year, People’s Postcode Lottery has demonstrated continuing commitment to helping people affected by dementia. 

Since the beginning of 2021, they have given over £1 million focusing on a package of post-pandemic support for people. This includes being the sole funders of Talking Point, our online peer-led support service, as well as supporting our Dementia Directory, which aggregates critical information from services across the country. Among other areas, they have also funded eight new posts on the Dementia Connect Support Line, increasing our capacity to support greater numbers of people.

Since 2016, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have been front and centre of supporting people affected by dementia, and reducing extreme loneliness. With their backing, people like Kevin can access the support, information, and services they need, when they need it, and in a way that’s right for them. We are hugely grateful for their support. 

Making a major gift

Individual philanthropists, grant-making trusts and foundations play a pivotal role in funding our work. Find out more about making a major gift.

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