Cork's elderly are 'very scared' by the coronavirus says advocate; Covid-19 funeral directives 'should never have been made public'

Cork's elderly are 'very scared' by the coronavirus says advocate; Covid-19 funeral directives 'should never have been made public'

A CORK elderly advocate has said that older people who are living alone and housebound in Cork are “scared” and has called for communities to support them.

Over 60s talent competition organiser Paddy O’Brien said the coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread fear among the elderly community.

“I am meeting the elderly and they are scared, frightened and nervous. I would be concerned mostly for people that are housebound and living alone.

“It’s very important that people keep in contact with the elderly in a responsible manner and we ensure they have adequate food. All we hear on the television and radio is about people pulling up in their cars at supermarkets and buying two and three trolleys' worth of groceries. However, we have people in our local community that can’t even go to the local shop.

COVID -19 Coronavirus. Till queues as shoppers wait at Dunnes Stores, Blackpool Shopping Centre, Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins
COVID -19 Coronavirus. Till queues as shoppers wait at Dunnes Stores, Blackpool Shopping Centre, Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins

“The community has to be even more vigilant than usual in their care for the elderly and it’s important to help them, so important.” 

Mr O’Brien has been critical of the reporting of directives made by the Irish Association of Funeral Directors (IFAD), which were reported in the media earlier this week.

These made reference to relatives of the deceased not being allowed to attend funeral homes and for the bodies of those who were infected with the coronavirus not to be embalmed.

It also recommended that those who passed away after contracting COVID-19 should be buried or cremated quickly.

Mr O’Brien said: “The directives by the IFAD that were reported frightened people. There are thousands of people who have saved for years for their funerals because they want a nice coffin and a nice burial. 

"This directive should never have been made public.” 

Health officials have since moved to ensure that these measures are not necessary at this time.

The IAFD has also issued a statement that said it is “monitoring” advice from the government.

"We have issued a guidance policy to our members in the unfortunate event that they may have to arrange a funeral for a victim of coronavirus. Whilst this policy may make for uncomfortable reading it was not our intention to alarm the public or be insensitive to the trauma that loved ones may face should a member of their family die from the disease.

“We will continue to monitor advice from the government and although the health and safety of our members is paramount, we would assure the public that should any of our members be required to arrange a funeral, under these unprecedented circumstances, they will do so with the utmost respect and professionalism for the deceased and their bereaved family.” 

Mr O’Brien also confirmed that the all Over 60s talent competition heats in Cork are now postponed until further notice.

“Due to the government directives, we are canceling the Over 60s heats over the next few weeks. We are adhering to the rules and regulations but we hope all the heats will take place before May 24 which is the date for the final.

“There is a bit of sadness out there because the winners’ who had already qualified for the final were so much looking forward to it taking place but, hopefully, the situation might have changed before then and we may be able to go ahead with the final.”

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