My name's Sharon. I'm a forty something woman, who lives on the south coast of England and I am the founder of Smile-Connect.com, the Sussex social networking website for everyone over 50.
As I'm not yet over 50 myself, I often get asked by new new members of Smile-Connect.com why I had the idea for the website. Here's the answer.
Some years ago, a widowed relative - once an outgoing, girl about town, suddenly found her social circle of close friends and female siblings had disappeared due to age and illness. Getting out and about wasn't as easy as it once was and she was reluctant to join senior lunch clubs as she felt everyone there would be 'old'...
Thankfully, this lady had the support of close of family who visited every day. Had circumstances been different, she may have been one of the many older people in the UK and beyond, to suffer from loneliness - something more damaging to health than smoking several cigarettes a day.
Extended families are disjointed nowadays - with miles separating grandparents from grandchildren and their parents. Some live on other continents to each other.
As we grow older, we lose touch with friends and our social circle dwindles. People sadly lose partners. These events can be traumatic and create feelings of loneliness that can knock one's confidence; making it hard to build a fulfilling social life. I felt there had to be a way to re-connect people, helping to form new friendships and bring meaning and fun back into older people's lives.
Smile-Connect was created to help to do just that, to help people in Sussex connect with one another, share hobbies and form on and offline friendships. Our users don't just socialise online, they also meet each other face to face.
So although I'm not quite there yet, I know that being lonely and over 50 is something that could well happen to me. Any of us in fact. I want Smile-Connect.com to help people in Sussex create a social life for themselves and show that it's not just young people having all the fun.
The Sussex social network for everyone over 50