Elderlink lunch clubs have been closed since the third week of March 2020. Over 14 months now! We have kept in touch by phone, letters and by gift bags at Christmas and Easter.
Our clients, being in the very vulnerable group, have had to contend with various issues (some of which other age groups have experienced too). Isolation, not being able to see or visit family members, hospital and doctor’s appointments being cancelled, loss of social interaction, lack of expertise in smart phones and computer technology, an increase in deteriorating health issues because of lack of exercise and mental health. Fear of the virus, fear of the vaccine, fear of the future. Sadly some of our clients have passed away during this time.
Claristin has found it hard not to see her family. She has felt quite isolated. Her great friend Harold, who lives next door, has been very supportive and Claristin is able to contact him when needed. Because of failing health, particularly with walking, Claristin has had to bring her bed downstairs. Social Services, although supportive, have not been able to carry out adaptions in the home that would make day to day living easier. Claristin has not been able to go out to any social activities and this has made her anxious and sad.
Recently Harold’s glaucoma eye condition has worsened to such a degree that his son, who lives in a beautiful southern county, has insisted that Harold should live with them. This has added further heartbreak and sadness to Claristin, although they still keep phone contact!
As the pandemic has continued, Claristin’s trust in God has strengthened. Recently her daughter was able to take both Claris and Harold to their church where they celebrated communion and felt very blessed. Claris and Harold are pictured above – please pray for them both.
Rachel Khan, ElderLink Manager
The loneliness of the pandemic has hit some of our clients harder than others. Those who have very little contact with family and a good network of friends have really struggled.
One of our clients, an unmarried lady and used to living alone, has found the isolation unbearable. She said during a recent phone call that ‘life doesn’t seem worth living any more.’ She was desperate for me to visit as soon as possible. The next time I called her, she she had reluctantly decided to go into a home. Her nephew was trying to find a suitable place for her, and she was worried about finances. Her only regular face-to-face contact is with a district nurse who visits twice weekly. This is a difficult and distressing time for her and she feels overwhelmed by her situation.
Clients who have some form of dementia struggle to understand why no-one is visiting them in their home. They wonder if they have been forgotten or done something wrong to offend. The lack of the social contact they used to get from our home visits or attending lunch club has contributed to a deterioration in their mental state. This is evident from the contact we have over the phone.
Many are missing the wonderful meals produced by Stan and his helpers at lunch clubs. They loved Stan’s puddings, especially the custard! There was always a good response to the question, ‘anyone for seconds?’ They miss the ‘buzz’ of being part of a weekly ElderLink session – the banter, the laughter, the welcoming smiles and cups of tea. Now many sit alone at home remembering all these things.
Jan Watts, ElderLink Volunteer
We are trusting that most of our clients will have had two jabs of vaccine (and hopefully our volunteers). The government has not specified any particular plans for places such as ours. Our aim is to be flexible and to seek to know God’s will for ElderLink. We are open to new things and are excited to see what God has in store for us. Please pray that we will have clear guidance.