One woman, who runs a weekly group on behalf of Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association (GOPWA), said the club was the only thing that had stopped her resorting to pills.
A recent study of 13,000 elderly people revealed “increased levels of antidepressants being prescribed” to older people within the first year of losing a spouse.
Age Scotland, said helpline staff had taken calls from family members concerned that relatives were taking anti-depressants. The charity said loneliness was likely to be one of the causal factors.
Rae McCarthy, launched, Primrose Friends, at a sheltered housing complex in Whiteinch after council cuts forced the closure of a day centre, run by GOPWA.
She said: “I used to go to the Donald Dewar centre with my husband Pat, 81.
“When it closed, I was lonely and I thought, what can we do?
“Could we not run a club in our sheltered housing complex? So me and Pat set up a club.
“We have 28 members, all between 80 and 90.
“Older people are so depressed. They are lonely. That’s why they are down.
“It saved me from taking anti-depressants.
“I went to see this lady who had cancer. I brought her a bunch of flowers. I thought she wasn’t going to last a year.
“What a lift it gave that lady. She’s still here. We need these clubs to combat loneliness and isolation.
“It stops them going to the doctor to get pills.”
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