COPE Galway is reaching out to older people in Galway City and County to encourage them to look after themselves and to let their community help during the COVID-19 crisis.
While it is very important that those in older age brackets protect themselves as much as possible in the coming weeks and months, this will of course, lead to higher levels of loneliness and isolation . There are, however, ways of making this difficult time easier for older people and there is a huge amount of goodwill across the Galway community to help.
COPE Galway has set up a practical helpline to connect older people in Galway with ways of meeting their needs. The helpline number - 085 87 67 785 - will operate between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
The main message now is for older people who might think they don’t want to bother anyone, to please ask for help. Please let your needs be known and please accept help offered.
First and foremost: I would ask people to make sure they have all they need for their basic health and wellbeing such as food, heat, and medication. Many shops and pharmacies are offering help and getting supplies is easy to arrange.
Being isolated can be really tough; the longer it goes on the more challenging it is for our mental wellbeing. While physical distancing is very important in keeping COVID 19 contained, maintaining social contact in other ways is necessary. This is the time to reach out to people you know by phone or online and to stay connected.
Keeping occupied is also important. Take up activities that you may have previously loved to do like reading, knitting, gardening, Sudoku, jigsaws, crosswords, art – anything that you get enjoyment from and that can also take your mind off any worries caused by this crisis.
Moreover, if you have family, friends and neighbours who can help with accessing items for these hobbies in a safe way, please ask them. Many people, now with more time on their hands, might just be waiting for a chance to put it to good use.
If you do not have access to someone that can help, then call our Helpline - 085 87 67 785. We will assist with these practical needs by using our own resources or putting to good use the impressive offers of help which are coming in from individuals and the many local groups across our communities, including the Gardaí who are setting up a community response.
In this way, we can help with food shopping; providing cooked meals; prescription collections; fuel delivery and more. We can also offer a regular phone call to check in on people and make sure they are ok, or have a general friendly chat. We can help with arranging for materials to pass the time in ways that are enjoyable to you. We are mindful at all times of being sensitive and respectful to each person’s needs and abilities.
We also have a message for the wider community: if you know an older person who may need help or companionship please reach out in a safe way. There are plenty of creative ways to make the most of this situation and value our older people’s contribution to the community.
Consider how our grannies and grandads might read stories to their grandchildren over the phone. We can seek and share via social media, the advice from older people, who may have had previous experience of coping with hard times. An Post also have a fantastic initiative in offering free postcards for anyone to send to let people they care about know they are thinking of them. We all have a role to play in making sure older people in the community are not isolated.
COPE Galway invite people to use the Helpline 085 87 67 785 Monday – Friday, 9am to 4pm
Reach out and lets all help together
For Meals please call 091 354 000 or visitwww.Meals4Health.ie And remember - keep up with your normal medical issues, and if you have symptoms of COVID 19, call your GP.