After suddenly going blind, Stephen Ricketts thought his lifestyles had ended and turned into at the verge of killing himself.
He couldn’t do simple obligations inclusive of cook dinner – mistaking tinned peaches for beans and seeking to devour them on toast.
But 4 years later, he has began a bowls membership for the blind and wants to assist others finding life difficult.
Mr Ricketts is the point of interest of an exhibition aiming to help the 75,000 older human beings in Wales who’re lonely and susceptible to taking their lives.
“I had been thru melancholy, alcohol, suicidal mind,” said the fifty three-12 months-vintage from Llanelli approximately his war with age-associated macular degeneration.
“You assume your lifestyles has ended, however it hasn’t.”
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The exhibition about “guys suffering with life” occurred after photographer Ray Hobbs visited a Men’s Shed in Ferryside at the same time as documenting the network.
There are approximately 460 sheds in the UK – specially in disused garages and warehouses wherein men come together to speak, drink tea and be creative.
“Many (of the guys) have been struggling with life. There were some extreme stories and this changed into some thing I had now not bargained for,” Mr Hobbs said.
“And they were lonely for a extensive variety of reasons. One guy’s spouse had died and he may want to move a week without talking to everybody.
“There become another who had a spouse, beautiful house. But he turned into retired and neglected the camaraderie.”
Image copyrightRAY HOBBS
The exhibition known as From Sofa to Shed consists of pictures of objects people use to invoke emotions of happiness – which includes pictures of grandchildren
The pictures document their journey from melancholy to locating new meaning in lifestyles thru groups inclusive of Men’s Sheds.
Charity Campaign to End Loneliness stated 17% of human beings in Wales have been lonely and 54% skilled a few type of lonely emotions.
While a spokeswoman said it is hard to without delay hyperlink loneliness to suicide, she pointed to research showing how low social interplay become predictive of it in older age.
Director Sam Dick said the impact became “vast”, adding: “We cannot underestimate the effect of human connection on physical and intellectual health.
“Loneliness is as awful for health as smoking 15 cigarettes an afternoon and contributes to depression and tension.
“Being able to feel part of a community, like a bowling club or at a Men’s Shed, is a key a part of health.”
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Much of the charity’s paintings in Wales is focused on Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.
The neighborhood authority areas make up one of the poorest areas in northern Europe and it is looking on the “severa and complicated” links among poverty and loneliness.
“Two of the main sectors are tourism and agriculture, which can be seasonal and in particular within the case of farming, solitary,” added Mr Dick.
Image copyrightRAY HOBBS
As properly as specializing in Mr Ricketts, the exhibition looks at men in an expansion of settings, along with at domestic on their computer systems
Age Cymru is helping Mr Hobbs’s plans to raise attention of loneliness by way of taking his exhibition around Wales.
“Older people may additionally grow to be isolated in later lifestyles for some of reasons consisting of retirement, bereavement, sick fitness, and a lack of nearby services or transport,” said the employer’s Michael Phillips.
“While others pick to overlook out on socialising due to the fact even small financial fees are past them.
“This method that a few older human beings slightly depart their domestic, resulting in chronic loneliness and a next deterioration in their physical and intellectual fitness.”
Mr Phillips known as this “a day by day reality” for 75,000 older people in Wales.