Agony aunt Fiona Caine deals with your problems

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Ask Fiona: How can I find new friends?

Most of my friends live miles away (or have died) and so I feel a bit stuck.

My mind is still very active although my body lets me down a bit and I can’t get out and about as much as I used to.

I have travelled a great deal in the past and now read a lot, love music, the arts and am fascinated by ancient history and archaeology.

I’m not a drinker and pubs leave me cold, but most social activities seem to be geared towards younger people or geriatric bingo.

Perhaps I’m being unfair, but my one experience of a social club for seniors was only one step from the grave!

Surely something must exist that will help me to find companionship that will still stretch my brain?

A Loneliness is a problem for many people, and not just for mature people.

It feels as if you are indifferent to things that many other people consider social, like pubs and clubs. With your wide range of interests, I would have thought you could join any number of clubs and societies that offer the chance to go to concerts or listen to lectures on history and archaeology.

Your local library will almost certainly have lists of all manner of things on offer.

There are also a number of national organisations you might find challenging.Consider U3A (University of the Third Age - u3a.org.uk) where retired and semi-retired people come together to learn, sometimes from each other, just for the fun of it.

What about Nadfas (National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies – nadfas.org.uk) where artistic appreciation and the promotion of conservation go hand in hand? There are many more possibilities and I’m sure your library can help you find them.

Finally, not all social clubs for seniors revolve around ‘geriatric bingo’, so perhaps you could look a little further – you might find some that do things you do enjoy.

Q In recent years I’ve had one problem after another.

I was dumped and then divorced by my husband just after discovering I needed a hysterectomy. The operation didn’t go well and I had a succession of infections that meant it took a long time to heal.

I’ve developed food allergies and they have now found a breast lump that probably means I’ll have to have a mastectomy.

I’m really not sure how much more I can cope with and I feel so alone and afraid. I’d like to find love again, but who could possibly want an affair with such a wreck?

A At times it will feel overwhelming, but help is available if you want it from organisations like Macmillan Cancer Support.

Your immediate priority must be to concentrate on getting over the operation and dealing with the day-to-day problems it may cause.

That’s where an organisation like Macmillan can help you, with information and local support. Visit macmillan.org.uk and find both.

As for finding love again, you never can tell where that may come from.

When you are able to think positively about your future, you’ll feel better about yourself and better able to find people to share your life with once more.