After reading an article on RTE News stating that the over 70’s are being asked to limit interactions to small networks and to act safely, you can’t help but wonder if the possibility of re-cocooning is on the cards.
With recent numbers on the rise to what they where in the beginning of pandemic of Covid-19 the Irish government is now recommending that those at high risk and the over 70’s avoid leaving the house. Unless it is to go grocery shopping and even then, they insist that they avoid public transport where necessary.
The probability of re-cocooning is high in our eyes and while it is a safer bet than roaming the streets and bumping into the wrong people, cocooning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
We took to the streets (figuratively speaking) to ask a small number of the over 70’s (via phone) what their experience was with the cocooning plan, what they did to cope and how they would feel if it where to re-cocoon again so soon.
Anne (81) in Offaly
Well, I’ll tell you ever since I started to hear more about it in March, I had already convinced myself that I will be stuck in my house until Christmas. I cam to terms with it quite quickly, the idea of staying in. I do like to go shopping with my daughter in law but during the cocooning I would leave a list for her in my porch and she would hand me my shopping through the window with the full gear on.
Sometimes a few members of the family would stand back from the window to talk but that was the extent of my contact.
I didn’t really cope with it, it was one day at a time kind of thing, my grand-daughters started reminding me of the promises I made to knit for them, blankets and cardigans for babies that where no where in sight. So, I would make myself a cuppa and head to the sitting room to knit while watching the tele.
Re-cocooning will be hard to get used to, my grandchildren have been coming to visit me and I them, especially on the sunny days for BBQ’s. During the lock down, they only took me out of the house when necessary (hospital appointments). But if we go back into lock down, I am back to conversations through a window and seeing them less.
This is one of the upsetting things about Covid-19, don’t get me wrong others have it worse but this is my feeling on it, I haven’t been able to hug or kiss my family since early and it’s quite heartbreaking.
I know my family are trying to keep me safe, but I just wish for this to end now. Get rid of this bl**dy virus.
James (76) in Meath
It didn’t change for me here; I live with 3 of my children and my wife and the three of them had to still go to work during the lock down so I never really got to cocoon. We had to rely on them to keep safe and clean for us.
My other kids would be careful when coming to the house, they either didn’t come into the house or they where here for a very short time. They told us it was for our safety but what sort of life is this?
We were worried because one of my kids is working in a supermarket and me and my wife are getting old, we need to be careful. I miss having the laugh with the fellas in the pub for a drink. I like to be outside working in the garden and when I’m not I like to go to the pub to have a drink with me dinner.
If we go back it will be hard after we just got a little bit of freedom, I suppose a hot whiskey with the missus will have to do ha ha ha.
Elisabeth (79) in Dublin
I go to mass around the corner everyday and with the lock down I was not allowed out of the house or to visit the church. One of my children showed me that they where now showing mass on the television every day, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out much, I still got my service.
What I did and still do miss is my gym, I used to go to the gym everyday for a swim and now I still can’t, it helps me with my arthritis as I have it in my feet, back and hands. Being in the water gave me an immense amount of relief and I miss it terribly. The lack of mobility during Covid-19 for myself and others like me is dangerous, you know? If you don’t use it you lose it and it can be hard to get back up and move again after so long.
I like my own space, but it was certainly a lonely time, especially with the lack of physical contact, who thought a hug could be dangerous.
I’m sure my phone bill went through the roof. I was calling my children and siblings quite a bit to keep in touch and check in, it helped pass some time.
Now that we are technically out of full lock down, I have visits from my children and sometimes I get brought on little outings to Howth or for a small walk along the pier or even sitting in the car and watching the waves come in on Portmarnock beach.
If we do go back into lock down and I have to re-cocoon as you say, I just hope they offer mass again like they had been and that my loved ones stay safe even though I can’t see them.
It’s certainly a mixed reaction we received from out interviewees on the subject of another possible lock down. Thankfully, they understand that it is worth it for their safety and to put their loved ones at ease.
A resounding theme is the lack of physical contact and how much they miss the interaction with others in person. It’s hard to say when the over 70’s may feel safe again in public or even inviting friends/family over for a cup of tea.
Covid-19 has taken simple pleasures away from their retirement years and left them feeling lonely and isolated.
If anything, we hope it is that everyone, checks in on their over 70’s, help them feel less lonely even if it’s just a phone call.
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