On the Subjects of Age and Disabilities

I have to admit to feeling very upset today over the whole matter of how it is emerging so strongly that people in care homes are finding themselves caught in the horror of COVID19.

Most of my working life related to the experiences of people with disabilities and especially those who were living in residential care and later on I was very much involved with older people.

I think of all the fantastic individuals I have been so privileged to get to know through lengthy interviews and time spent staying in residential care settings.

It was always their  individuality that struck me and not the shared fact of being in a category of ‘older person’  or ‘a person with a disability.’

Now it feels like the categorizations are back and the ‘people’ behind the walls of care homes are being half or more than half forgotten about as the rest of the world thinks about freedoms after lockdown.

Neither older age nor disability make a person any less of a precious human being than anybody else. Neither age nor disability strips a person of feelings, hopes, fears or love of life any more than anybody else.

Of all the people I think about today, my great-aunt Anna stands out. She was the bright romantic star who married for the first time, aged 72, and lived out her last years in a nursing home. Her short term memory wasn’t great but she was as loving, caring, full of fun as anyone I have ever known. At 89, she was game for anything and knew how to listen and advise in a most empathetic way. Age didn’t matter a damn to her, as she would put it.

A Youthful Aunt Anna

I can’t bear to think of anyone being viewed as somehow less important than another but know in my heart that if this virus was posing a major threat to millions of children, it would be taking on a whole different aspect.

Obviously, I wouldn’t wish it on any child but I think we have to see our more vulnerable people, especially those in care homes, as being every bit as important and precious as a child and yes I know how precious they are too, even 6ft 3in ones!



Puppy Stan



One of the most reassuring things about this odd time we are all going through is the way nature is still carrying on and the daisies and dandelions are appearing like they should.

Also, for me, the fact that Puppy Stan is oblivious to it all and is dedicated to his daily round and full of twirly welcomes, lends a strong element of normality to the abnormal.

I hope he truly knows how much I love him.

Days to Remember

I took this pic a few years ago near the house here.  In normal times, kids pass our house on the way to the various schools in the town. But, now there isn’t a single child in school uniform to be seen as all the schools are closed because of the virus.

I miss watching them as they are walking home, especially, as it’s a scene that reminds me of days to-ing and fro-ing from school, chatting to classmates about all sorts of things.

I find it amazing that I can remember those days as if they were today. Shared histories are so significant and I wonder how today’s kids will look back on this period in 4 or 5 decades time.



Two Kilometres

The current COVID19 guidelines for exercise in Ireland have brought the radius of two kilometres from home into very sharp focus as we are not allowed to wander outside that boundary.

I feel utterly blessed that the sea is within my 2km range as it feeds my soul and offers horizons of hope.

Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

Thinking about the 2 km in broader terms has made me think of all the history associated with everyone’s place in this country. I have found myself looking a lot more closely at the buildings, twists, turns, shadows, gardens and pondering on what history is associated with an area I know so well and how all the people currently in my little 2km radius are actually dealing with these strange times.

We all try to put a brave face on things but I guess there’s no one who is completely at ease. Everyone has their own ways of coping and more than anything this feels like a time when there’s no running away or getting away. When I was a child I used to think that if the worst came to the worst The Isle of Man would be my saving place. I don’t remember my rationale.

Now, it’s about coping, hoping, helping and being sensible. My new approach to coping with attacks of paralyzing stress is to draw on a menu of 5-minute treats, like trying to sketch a flower, listening to a song, reading a poem, petting the dogs, writing a haiku, making a smoothie and suddenly one becomes absorbed and the tension recedes.

Now a treat with puppy Stan and a walk within our 2 kilometres.

Take care, wherever you may be, dear friends.