As the Coronavirus outbreak took hold, with lockdown instructions clear and shielding advice given to the most vulnerable, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale looked carefully at its services and how they were delivered.
It was necessary to suspend some services including befriending visits by volunteers to clients inside their homes. Teams whose usual remit involved visiting care homes and hospitals where such visits were no longer possible, were deployed to other adapted services.
Calls from the older members of our local communities for information, advice and reassurance rose immensely and the urgent need to assist with shopping and prescription deliveries became increasingly urgent.
Since the start of the lockdown, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale have taken over 3,500 calls for advice and have arranged over 300 new weekly shops. In addition, many of our amazing 500+ volunteers, as well as redeployed staff continue to make regular telephone calls to clients to provide company and much needed social interaction.
We’ve been calling clients such as Mrs B, an 82 year-old widow living alone in Barry.
Mrs B’s husband passed away in 2019 and she admits that she has struggled to even begin to get over the loss. With lockdown in place and unable to either invite visitors into her home or to enjoy socialising activities outside the home, feelings of loneliness have been particularly difficult.
Although she continued to take her little dog for a short walk on the beach early every morning (before others were out and about), Mrs B’s longer daily walks were curtailed. These had provided an opportunity to socialise with the many people she knows in the local area as well as to pop into the corner shop to collect any required items. Mrs B. really missed her daily routine.
Although not advised to shield for 12 weeks, with underlying health issues and due to her age, Mrs B was very reluctant to venture to the shops. Fortunately, her son delivered shopping fortnightly, with help from Age Connects to top this up in between if necessary.
While she doesn’t have a computer, Mrs B does have a mobile phone on which her son installed Whatsapp before the lockdown. She has therefore not only been able to call and text family but also to enjoy video calls with her children and grandchildren which has been a great source of comfort.