VIDEO: Letchworth woman reflects on her ‘lonely’ week

EVER longed for some peace, quiet and a week to yourself?

Well one woman got more than she bargained for when taking part in a social experiment, labelling the seven day ‘holiday’ as “tough”, “upsetting” and “really lonely”.

Caro Hart, of Bidwell Close in Letchworth GC, spent 159 hours in total isolation last week after volunteering for a study organised by UK charity Friends of the Elderly.

The 50-year-old was one of 11 individuals across the UK to take on the Isolation Week challenge, which involved having no contact with the outside world for one week, with conversations, both face-to-face and over the phone, forbidden, as well as communication via email or social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Caro also had to use different items throughout the week to simulate problems experienced by the elderly, such as wearing cataract glasses which blurred vision, thick gloves, ear plugs and headphones.

A service develop manager for older peoples’ charity Independent Age, Caro took the week off work and left her own home for the experiment, renting a cottage near Hertford.

Finishing her week in isolation at midnight on Sunday, The Comet caught up with Caro yesterday (Tuesday) when she returned to work to see what she made of it.

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“I’m always up for a challenge but it had a big impact on me,” said Caro.

“Doing the simplest of tasks with the empathy aids gave me a flavour of what it would be like to be partially sighted or deaf. I found it quite upsetting in places and I hadn’t really bargained for that.

“Days five and six were the worst. It was really tough – far more difficult than I thought it was going to be.

“I was in the middle of nowhere but I kept looking, thinking there was someone at the door. It got harder and harder and I didn’t think I would be but I got really lonely.

“The theme tune for a programme came on the TV and I tried singing along but a croak came out. I hadn’t spoken aloud in about two days but I just hadn’t realised.

“It’s taught me a huge amount and I’m so proud of the Friends of the Elderly charity that they are raising these issues and bringing them to the public’s attention as it’s a huge problem.”

Asked what she did once the clock had struck 12 after a week spent reading books, watching old DVDs and playing video games, Caro added: “The first thing I did was go on Facebook! Then I rang my daughter as she’s a student and was likely to be the only one up at that hour!”

Caro, who will be donating the �500 she was paid for participating in the experiment to Independent Age, was ask to blog and post video diaries during Isolation Week - watch the video to see how she was coping on day six.