'They miss phone calls and a knock on the door': Loneliness in elderly as restrictions ease 

'They miss phone calls and a knock on the door': Loneliness in elderly as restrictions ease 

Paddy O’Brien is encouraging people to continue to visit neighbours or pick up the phone to an elderly relative. 

A Cork advocate for the elderly has expressed concerns about people who are slipping back into depression and loneliness following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Paddy O’Brien is encouraging people to continue to visit neighbours or pick up the phone to an elderly relative as “the urgency that people had to look after them at the height of the pandemic has almost disappeared”.

“Many elderly people, despite the restrictions being lifted, are again experiencing loneliness," he said. 

"A lot of fuss was made of the elderly during the pandemic and regrettably since the restrictions have been lifted the same importance and the same emphasis is not [there].

“They miss phone calls and a knock on the door for a little chat. The virus has not gone away and people must remember that and remember to check in on the elderly."

He said that all it takes to prevent the elderly, particularly those who are housebound, from slipping into depression and experiencing sadness and loneliness is a knock on the door or a phone call.

“They won’t feel so lost and they’ll feel as though someone cares for them and loves them," Mr O'Brien said 

“During the pandemic, that’s what hit me forcibly - how speaking to elderly people brought them such joy and happiness.

“It’s of vital importance in the interest of the elderly that we all make a contribution to avoid people feeling that way and we must do everything to bring a bit of sunshine into a person’s life." 

Mr O’Brien also paid tribute to the many organisations and community groups who called to the elderly during the pandemic, ensuring they had food and heat.

“The GAA clubs, soccer clubs, boxing clubs and the army and the gardaí, they all worked together in the interest of elderly people and it was very much appreciated." 

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