PRESS RELEASE March 23rd 2020
COPE Galway are today reaching out to older people in Galway City and County to encourage them to look after themselves and to let their community help.
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 leads to higher levels of loneliness and isolation.
But there are ways of making this easier for people and there is a huge amount of good will across our community to help.
COPE Galway have set up a helpline number for Galway 085 87 67 785 which will operate between 9am and 4pm. This is a practical helpline to connect older people with ways of meeting their needs:
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 with this so these types of practical needs are easy to arrange.
Secondly, being isolated is really tough and the longer it goes on the more challenging it is for our mental wellbeing. So while physical distancing is very important in keeping COVID 19 contained, maintaining social contact in other ways is very necessary for all of us. So this is the time to reach out to people you know by phone or online and staying connected as best we can.
And keeping occupied is also important. So taking up activities that maybe we used to love like reading, knitting, gardening, sudoko, jigsaws, crosswords, art – anything that we get enjoyment from and that can also take our minds off the worries caused by this crisis.
And this is where others may be able to help. If you have access to family, friends and neighbours who can help with this in a safe way, please ask them – Many people now have more time on their hands and are only waiting to put it to good use.
If however you don’t have access to someone then call our helpline and we will assist with these practicalities – ourselves or using the offers of help which are coming in across our communities.
We can help with food - either shopping or providing cooked meals, prescription collections, fuel etc. and we will do this by linking in with others offering help like local groups coming together in communities with people offering help, or the guards who are setting up a community response, and others. Well done to all
We can also offer a regular phone in to check in on people regularly and make sure they are ok, and even have a general friendly chat.
And we can help with arranging for materials to pass the time in ways that are enjoyable to you.
This will be done in a very sensitive and respectful way and in a way that each person seeking help is comfortable with.
So the main message now is please ask for help. Please let your needs be known and please accept help offered.
And for the wider community, if you know an older person in your community who may need help or companionship please reach out and see if you can help, in a safe way. Let’s try to be creative and make the most of this situation and see our older people as a resource also to our community. How about our grannies and grandads reading stories to their grandchildren over the phone? Let’s use social media to showcase how our older people are bringing their own value to communities in times like this. Especially using their experience in dealing with adversity previously during hard times.
Let’s also congratulate An Post who are offering free postcards to everyone to send to people to let them know they are thinking of them – what a lovely way for us all to send love outwards- to our grandparents, parents, grandchildren, friends whom we can’t meet at the moment but still care about very much.
So we all have a role to play.
COPE Galway invite people to use our helpline 085 87 67 785 Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm
Reach out and let’s all help together
For Meals please call 091 354 000 or www.Meals4Health.ie
Keep up with normal medical issues, and if you have symptoms call your GP