A brief introduction
Hi everyone, my mum has risen to the challenge of creating a guest post about the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on her life and so I’d like to present her words to you below. It’s probably the first time ever that I’ve seen her write at length on a subject as we usually keep in touch via phone and WhatsApp message where we try to keep our writing to a minimum character length! So, without further ado, I’ll hand over this post to its main author:
Hello, I’m Laura’s mum , Julie, and I’ve been asked if I would like to jot down the good bits and the bad bits about self isolation from the view of an older person (I suspect she might be trying to keep me busy lol!). Well here goes…
I’m not quite 70 but close enough and my husband (Laura’s dad) is getting on for 80 so we are treating this as both of us being ‘vulnerable’ although I can still shop whilst he stays in the car. I’ve tried to come up with positives first, but there are fewer of those.
The positives of staying at home…
Firstly, I like gardening and having more time and the weather not being too bad, though chilly at times, I’ve warmed up digging over the patches where my husband sets his runner beans when the weather warms up. I’ve also been hoeing between my plants. Since our soil is solid clay and had flooded several times, it is now drying out to concrete! – so I’m getting fresh air and a good work out.
Secondly, my husband has had a spell of physical problems involving lots of pain in various parts of his body, which the doctor says is related to gout and arthritis. However, he has begun taking medication for his difficulties, and now he has picked up, he is able to do some of the jobs that have had to be put on hold. It’s a pity though that the DIY shops are no longer available to us for garden supplies.
Thirdly, and probably the best of all, people have been so kind. We have had offers of help from our son’s girlfriend who works at the hospital and has been a bit down herself. Also, Laura’s friend from childhood, who works in intensive care at the hospital has offered help and so has the woman who has recently moved into the house across the road. Our son would do our shopping, but quite honestly, whilst I can, I would much sooner do it myself and of course Laura lives a long way away in Sunderland whilst we’re in the Midlands.
Finally, on the positive side of the situation, I’ve got more time for hobbies such as jigsaws, crosswords and reading which I always enjoy.
The negative aspects of social isolation and distancing
Now onto the downsides…
Before this all started, we used to go out on bus trips with lunch in Wetherspoons twice per week. Well that is out for now and I miss it. We started off driving a little way to quiet spots for a picnic in the car and a walk but now, the Government have said they don’t want people driving to places for exercise so we stopped doing that. Walking locally gets a bit tedious after a while, but never mind!
Next, whereas I used to shop 4 or 5 times per week, I’m trying to just shop once per week which isn’t easy because our favourite supermarket doesn’t stock absolutely everything I need to buy. On the plus side, I can do my own shopping, unlike my auntie and uncle who are totally isolated due to my auntie’s serious health issues and have not yet been able to get a delivery spot. Hopefully they will soon. In the meantime my brother and sister-in-law, who also have health issues and want to isolate but can’t get a food delivery are helping my auntie out (back to kind people again!).
Another problem is that we are running out of jigsaws to do. My brother has some but he can’t bring them to me because he is in isolation too and the charity shops where we usually get them are closed but that is just a small problem. These are just practical issues.
The worse thing about having to isolate is that Laura and her husband will not be able to come down at Easter, which they always do. Also I can’t go round to ours son’s on a Saturday to spend the day with him and our granddaughter Lexi, or see them on a Wednesday for tea which is our usual routine. However, on a positive note, although we don’t do social media, and it takes me all my time to send an email, I am able to keep in touch with Laura, our son and granddaughter and the rest of my family by text and the odd phone call. I got a very noisy, but very welcome phone call from our granddaughter, aged 8, last weekend which cheered me up no end! Also, my husband and I have each other to talk to and it would be much worse to live on my own in the middle of nowhere like some people have to contend with. That’s it. Take care everyone and keep well.
Julie (Laura’s mum)
I hope you have enjoyed hearing from my mum and it has made you think about the effect of social isolation on the older generation. It’s also nice for me to know that my mum is being thought of by members of her local community, especially with me being too far away to offer practical help. After being initially really upset by the turn of events, I can see she is beginning to adapt relatively well to the situation and is still able to make the most of life and see some positives.
So, all that remains for me to say is, thanks mum for providing your input, and I hope to see you, my dad, brother and niece for some face-to-face contact, days out and games evenings sooner rather than later! It might not be at Easter, but hopefully it’ll be some time in the summer before Lexi and I have our shared birthday.