What price safety?

We received a touching phone call this morning from a close relative living in a nursing home, finding the loneliness of 2020 almost too much to bear.

“I feel like I have no family or friends. I know that’s not true, but day after day with no visitors, not even friends here in the nursing home are allowed to come for a chat and a cuppa in my room. Not wanting to complain but I just feel so low.”

I know there are many who have similar stories, ageing relatives feeling like their nursing home has become a safely sanitised prison where nurses, orderlies and cleaners are all they have to bring some small measure of human connection and brightness to a day.

One friend shared how she tried to arrange for her father to attend a Christmas family dinner in her home, only to be told by well-meaning Rona savvy staff that this year all inmates must stay in the home and are only allowed 1 visitor through the day. And no, the home will certainly not be providing Christmas lunch for the potential visitors as well.

What price safety I wonder?

While we err on the side of caution re physical health and re-elect Premiers to reward them for keeping us safe from the serious health issues associated with the current pandemic, I do wonder how we can support and care for those in our society who are experiencing the emotional, mental and relational impacts that are a direct result of our emphasis on ‘safety.’

It’s like a ‘living death’, sitting day after day alone in a nursing home room and this year of 2020 has made it all the more difficult for families who have been unable to travel across state borders to visit ageing relatives to bring hugs, chatter and comfort.

I hope we can together find ways to provide companionship and care to those in our community who are both alone and lonely, isolated in institutions or apartment blocks in suburbs near us.

Please feel free to contact me at C-Change Counselling and Coaching if you know of anyone who needs support during this difficult time. Together we can creatively and genuinely consider strategies to meet people’s needs.

Courage to Connect

Self-isolation has provided some gold moments and some cabin fever moments, but the beauty in each day has become clearer. I’m enjoying the rhythm of connection with solitude, just as in music the melody is shaped and enhanced by the ‘rests’, the pauses that define the flow.

Connection is so precious in these strange days that I’m observing among our family and friends a gentle and growing openness to express and explore their genuine care, appreciation, needs and hopes. This deepening of conversation opens the door to more meaningful connection for those who are courageously taking the risk.

Let’s face it there’s no sport to speak of, no concerts, no outings to keep us on the lighter end of connection. Instead, with growing trust and respect there is a genuine desire to support each other, listen to each other and express through the limited means of technology our greatest human desire, to give and receive love.

My hope is that on the other side of ‘The Rona’ when life resumes its more ‘normal’ pace we hold some of the beauty of this season of solitude and deeper connection. Yes, we’ll need to resume our banter about daily life events and experiences as a very important part of human ‘doing’ that bring vital light and shade to interactions.

But here in this time of human ‘being’ how can we continue to treasure the newly found gift of really hearing, seeing and knowing each other?

Let me know what you’ve treasured during this time, and how you are going to hold it!