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'I was lonely, I used to cry'

18 October 2013 Last updated at 08:50 BST

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will warn later that it is a source of "national shame" that hundreds of thousands of elderly people are chronically lonely.

He is due to tell a conference in Harrogate that entering old age "should not involve waving goodbye to one's dignity".

Winifred Green, an 88-year-old who lives on her own, told the Today programme how she experienced isolation last year when her family were abroad.

She remembered a time when she was "very, very lonely".

"I used to cry... I didn't know what to do with myself," she said.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 18 October 2013.