Combatting loneliness of Covid-19: Cork woman (92) talks to daughter for hours through a pane of glass

Combatting loneliness of Covid-19: Cork woman (92) talks to daughter for hours through a pane of glass
Resident Phil Cronin and Louise Hands with Jackie O’Donovan, activies co-ordinator at the Bon Secours Care Village, Lee Road, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

A 92-YEAR-OLD Cork woman revealed how her daughter stood for hours outside her nursing home window after travelling from Dublin to see her.

Phil Cronin said she will never forget how her daughter Rosemarie stood in the lashing rain for two hours as they chatted to each other on their mobile phones about everything from family to coronavirus.

Despite being separated by a pane of glass, a necessary precaution to curb coronavirus spread, Phil said she was happy just to see her face. 

The touching act of kindness couldn’t have come at a more lonely time for Phil and her peers who are self-isolating together at Bon Secours Care Village in Mount Desert.

Resident Phil Cronin with Jackie O’Donovan, activies co-ordinator at the Bon Secours Care Village, Lee Road, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Resident Phil Cronin with Jackie O’Donovan, activies co-ordinator at the Bon Secours Care Village, Lee Road, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“It was something different,” Phil said. 

“I’ll never forget the umbrella she held in her hands as she stood and spoke to me from outside the window. It was red and white. 

"Rosemarie has always been a very kind and caring girl.” 

Phil said she will treasure the memory for the rest of her life.

“It was a nice memory and I hope we’ll have many more nice memories.

"The situation reminded of me of when she used to stand at the window as a little girl and wave to everybody who walked by.” 

When asked if she has experienced anything like the Covid-19 crisis in her lifetime, Phil joked: “Not when I was sober anyway!” 

Phil is glad that her childhood best friend Lou, who is now a fellow resident in the care home, has been keeping her strong. 

The crisis has been just as difficult for Lou who is currently in a cast after breaking her arm in three places.

“It hit me today when I had a phone call," said 92-year-old Lou.

"Venturing out into new groups is dangerous now.

"It’s so hard to believe that we can’t bring in friends but we are so grateful to have Jack (activities coordinator Jackie) still here with us. 

"She is an amazing person who is doing such a great job. 

"Jack does so much for us. It’s also great to have Phil. 

"We’ve been friends since the age of five. When we were little Phil used to come from Shandon Street to see me and I’d travel from Fairhill to see her."

Resident Phil Cronin at the Bon Secours Care Village, Lee Road, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Resident Phil Cronin at the Bon Secours Care Village, Lee Road, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

"Back then going to Fair Hill was like travelling to the countryside.” 

Activities Coordinator, Jackie O’Donovan has been going beyond the call to give residents as full a life as possible behind closed doors.

"We’ve been screening musicals from You-Tube and turning down the lights so it can feel like we’re all in a real theatre," Jackie said.

She described the surreal nature of the crisis.

"Many are ringing home and enquiring to see if there are still gas masks at home from the time of the emergency"

Jackie said she can empathise with the residents' situations.

“My own mum is in another nursing home so I know what it’s like not to be able to see your loved ones. 

"This is a difficult situation for so many people. We are making sure to be there for residents, encouraging them to still get up, get dressed, and put on the lipsticks in spite of how down they might be feeling."

She is calling on the public to support residents in whatever way they can over the next few weeks.

"We are asking everyone in Cork to send cards of positivity and support, especially children. 

"We will then use all these messages to create a wall of positivity which we use this to lift people’s spirits. We are also using music to help people and make this lockdown like a big party.“ 

Readers can send their messages and art works of positivity to Bons Secours Care Village, Mount Desert, Lee Road, Co. Cork. They can also email them to jodonovan@bonsecours.ie

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