'A Room with a View'

Despite us all having unique stories to tell about our pandemic experience, we can all empathise with the feeling of being isolated and alone. We are only beginning to discover the true impact lockdown restrictions have on mental health, and the depth of loneliness they have caused in our communities.  

As human beings, family and friendship are vital for our health and well-being. Since the pandemic began our social interactions have decreased dramatically. Social media and other online tools have given younger people a vital link to their loved ones, as well as an activity to ward off loneliness and boredom. But what of those older people who are unable to access modern technology and get their usual daily dose of laughter and conversation face-to-face?

Throughout the Pandemic Communities 1st have continued to work with elderly people in our local community to ensure basic needs are met and loneliness is combatted. They are indebted to their amazing and tireless volunteers who have been delivering shopping, collecting prescriptions and providing much needed cheer through telephone calls. Pat has been receiving regular telephone support from Communities 1st volunteer, Angela. 

Like many women who lived during the war, Pat has faced considerable hardship.  She contributed to the war effort, working in factories whilst the fighting went on. She is a traditional homemaker with an extended family, and usually her contact with loved ones and friends would brighten up her day. However, without family living nearby and most of her friends in isolation, the enforced lockdown has robbed her of any social contact.

Because of this, Pat has found real value in her regular telephone calls with Angela, her telephone befriender. Their friendship has grown, gradually and steadily, fed with tales from their pasts, and anecdotes about their families and day to day lives. We hope that the new friendship between Pat and Angela will blossom to give pleasure to both women for some time to come.

The telephone has become Pat’s lifeline to the outside world. Pat treasures the photos sent from her loved ones, but says nothing can replace hugs and physical contact, especially with her great-grandchildren. She has spent her time in isolation in her living room, with a view of her beloved garden. She has her own ‘nature watch’, spotting birds and squirrels, one of whom deliberately stops to stare through the window. Pat gives thanks each day that she can see the beautiful Laburnum in her garden, grown from a seedling planted by her son when he started school many years ago.

Written by Etain Ferdenzi