'Lonely' Sudbury man receives calls after posting sign looking for companionship

A Val Caron man in Greater Sudbury says his plan to combat loneliness is starting to work.

Norman Houle, 76, says he decided to reach out as a way to combat loneliness

Norman Houle posted copies of this letter throughout his neighbourhood in Greater Sudbury. (Facebook/Valley East)

A Val Caron man in Greater Sudbury, Ont. says his plan to combat loneliness is starting to work.

Norman Houle, 76, recently posted signs in his neighbourhood. They're titled "Lonely" and go on to describe his current situation.

"It's not very nice to be alone because you're sitting down on the couch and watching the tv all day long," he said. "That is not healthy for you."

Houle decided to put the ad out to see if there were any women who would be interested in having a cup of coffee with him.

"I thought well, I'll just write this up and post it where I can and hope for the best," he said.

After that, Houle said his phone started to ring. So far, he's gotten about 10 calls.

"You are lonely when you're alone," he said. "There's nothing to hide from it. Now, obviously the ladies who got in touch with me are lonely also."

'If you're lonely, you're not happy'

Houle said a lot of elderly people are shy about sharing their feelings of loneliness.

"We don't want to sit at home," he said. "We don't want to sit on our couch and watch that idiot box, day in and day out. And if you talk to most of them, it's the same thing. They want the human touch."

Recently, someone posted a photo of the sign in a Facebook group called Valley East. The picture garnered more than 350 reactions and 70 comments.

"If you're lonely, you're not happy," he said.

"So do something about it. It doesn't take that much. It's better than sitting around pouting, or being sad."

Research by the Government of Canada states an "estimated 30 per cent of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated."

"Social isolation and exclusion is related to serious negative health effects and reduced quality of life for seniors," the report said.

"The National Seniors Council also asserts that the social isolation of seniors can cause communities to suffer from a lack of social unity, higher social costs and the loss of the wealth of experience that seniors bring to our families, neighbourhoods and communities."

With files from Sam Juric