The Irish Elderly Advice Network’s short video, Doorstep Conversations, is now available to watch on the London Irish Centre’s YouTube channel.
Shot during the first lockdown of last year, the video shows various older Irish people talk about how they are coping and getting through the crisis.
Participants talk about grief, their concerns, missing family and missing home.
London- Irish Linda Carreras spoke of losing her mother and not being able to be there for her: “On 16 March, I saw my mum for the last time. I went to visit her in her home in Kentish Town. A week later her home went into lockdown. I never saw my mum again. That was the last time I saw her so I missed her birthday, I missed mother’s day. I missed her dying and I missed her death.”
The funeral car passed Linda’s house so she and others could pay their respects.
“It was a really, really happy and beautiful event and I don’t feel there’s any need to have a funeral anymore. She had one and it was beautiful.”
Tom Wheeler, Chair of the Elderly Irish Advice Network, spoke about his brush with the virus and the loss of Alice Kennedy: “I picked up the coronavirus about the third week of March and was really ill, was struggling for breath. I would not go to the hospital but my granddaughter lived nearby and she came and helped me through it.
“We lost a very dear friend, Alice Kennedy. I really knew her for a long time and it was a big and sad loss and it just showed what the virus could do.”
Maria Lane from Cork said not being able to see family was hard: “I misssed my grandchildren most of all. One of my sons lives in Surrey and we used to just hop on a train. We took all that for granted. It was so hard not being able to see the grandchildren.”
Barbara Carroll from Connemara said: “On 23 March, on my 80th birthday, they locked me up. I was sitting there and my daughters had to come here (to the garden gate) and I couldn’t go near them.
“I thought to myself, ‘Is this it? Is this what I’ve got to do now? I’m 80, I’m active so why do I have to stay indoors all this time?'”
James Clare from Dublin said the whole pandemic has made him decide to move home: “I never realised how vulnerable older people were until this happened. When all this is over, my plan is to go home to Ireland for security reasons and family all around me.”
Bridget Walsh of Athlone said: “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. My family were worrying about me because if any thing happens, it’s always me it happens to. Talk about luck of the Irish. I don’t know where they were when I was born.”
Maeve Heath, a volunteer with the London Irish Centre, from Dublin said: “To me it seemed terrible. I help people. I’m a volunteer. I was getting more depressed because I couldn’t get out. I knew people needed help and I couldn’t help them. I had to depend on other people to help me.”
Margaret Lonergan from Galway said: “We decided we would enjoy it. I said to all my family to enjoy it and not to start worrying because worrying won’t get you anywhere.”