Mary’s story

Mary's story

“Jane comes and sees me three or four times a week. Sometimes we go out for coffee and just chat, other times we go on trips or outings – things I’d never have done on my own and certainly wouldn’t have done when I was drinking.

“She’s also been helping me improve my health in general and I’ve been healthy eating for the first time in ages.”

Mary*, aged 63, had battled alcohol dependency once before and was in recovery when she unexpectedly lost her brother, who was just 50 years old. The trauma led to a relapse and after a year of heavy drinking, Mary was back in hospital to detox again.

It’s better to talk

“I would hide it quite well. At one point I wouldn’t let my three boys near my flat because I didn’t want them to see me like that. I would let my flat get in a right old mess. But my family knew; we just never spoke about it. I wouldn’t do that now. It’s much better to talk – sharing is a good thing.

“Recently a new granddaughter has arrived. I didn’t want to be the grandma who couldn’t look after her, so really she gave me a goal to go for.”

Mary lives in supported housing in Sheffield with other people aged 60 plus.

Getting extra support

“When I came out of hospital I really needed extra support. Drink Wise, Age Well had been to the flats and given a talk about the project previously, so my key worker got in touch with them for me.

“That’s when Jane started to come and see me. She doesn’t push me, just comes with me places and gently guides me. She’s brilliant, I can’t say enough about her.

“Once I’d been saying I was thinking about trying the local leisure centre, so the next time she came she took me down there to find out all about it.

“She’s encouraged me to try all sorts of events, classes, and outings from jewellery making to art galleries. Through Drink Wise, Age Well I’ve been invited to lots of different things and thanks to Jane I’ve gone along.

“I can always pick the phone up if I need to talk to her. It’s good to just know there’s someone there for you.

“Best of all, now my family comes round and brings my new granddaughter to visit several times a month.”

To find out how Drink Wise, Age Well could support you visit

*Name changed to protect anonymity