WHILE she has concerns about the implications for elderly people, Shannon-based President of Active Retirement Ireland Kay Murphy accepts the rationale for moving to Level Three of Covid-19 restrictions and urges everyone to do what they can to suppress the virus.
“Being senior citizens and aged over 70, we’re all used to it now, we have to do what we’re told. It’s no surprise that it’s gone to that, and hopefully it’ll be contained at that, that we won’t have to go to a higher level, but it’s up to ourselves. It’s always up to ourselves, we have to do what we’re told, there’s no point in testing the restrictions or breaching them. The bottom line is you have to do what you are told and follow all the etiquette that’s out there. You’re wasting your time otherwise.”
Covid-19 was in her own family, giving her an appreciation for just how serious the virus is. “My son, his wife and their two children got it. They live in Denmark. He was dreadfully sick, dreadfully sick altogether. He was doing a presentation at work, mid sentence he had to stop, he couldn’t draw his breath, it hit him that suddenly. It was a long time ago now and he’s recovered, but he’s someone who was never sick in his life, but he was down for eight days.”
Going to Level Five would have been particularly hard for the elderly, while she says self isolating can be very hard for some senior citizens who live alone. “Level Five to me would be on a par with the lockdown that we had the first day, it would have been the same again. I know it would have been a shock to the economy and all the businesses and everything, but personally, for me and my age group it would have meant we would have had to stay at home. My main concern at the moment is for the welfare of the over 70s once again, they’re at home alone. All the volunteers will go into action again and they’ve been wonderful.
“We’re a tough old crowd really, we’ll do what we’re told. But I’d be very worried for the mental health of our members, that’d be at home alone again. The lack of human contact with our families and our grandchildren, our friends, all of that is a huge issue. People of our age are all family oriented. That’s what we do at this hour of our lives, we’re all retired and have time to spare.”
Kay feels that some people had become quite complacent about the risk posed by the virus, and may need to be shocked into seeing how real the risks are. “My advice would be to follow the rules, wear the mask, wash the hands, keep your social distance and you’ll be safe. That’s for everyone in every walk of life,” she concluded.