“40% of people will not speak about feeling lonely to anyone.” – Marmalade Trust

Loneliness Awareness Week (14 to 18 June) is a campaign that raises awareness of loneliness and gets people talking about it. This has been hosted by Marmalade Trust.

Mukesh shares his experience of loneliness during Covid-19.

Since 23 March 2020, my wife and I were advised that we were in the shielding and extremely vulnerable group, as were my parents.

Our life, like so many millions, changed overnight…
– As a carer for my parents who live one street away from us, we observed all the rules
– Challenge was the initial frenzy in the shops and how to source essential foods.

That was the beginning of the dawn of realisation that we would have to remain isolated from everyone.

Luckily even though my parents are in their mid/late 80s, both knew how to use a mobile phone. Dad knew the basics of using a computer. Luckily I had installed Skype and Zoom on his new laptop.

However, they soon realised that personal interaction i.e. face-to-face was going to be nearly impossible.

Loneliness was linked to anxiety and depression.
– medical appointments at the hospital were being postponed, elective surgery was being cancelled.

Financially, the issue was also that cash was no longer truly accepted and everyone wanted payment by card.
– However, if you are confined to being at home, you are still needing shopping to be done. So even a simple visit to the cash/ATM was a challenge. Double-masking and gloves were the order of the day.

Being a carer meant that initially when I visited, they would go into a separate room when I dropped things off.

Whatever happened as regards the Government rules, we kept to them.
At the same time worrying that I may give them Covid-19 or I may get it from them.

But being parents, you can’t not be there to support them.

It became better when they were called in early for their vaccinations due to their age and health.
– it was still my job to take them
– they were still worried about being taken and concerned that they may catch Covid-19 and give it to me since they would be amongst others.

Even today, with the recent relaxations, it’s still only me who does the carer role.

Regardless of what happens on the 21 June, it will still take time for me to be comfortable amongst crowds.

For me, being a “Techie Nerd 🤓” and knowing how to use web tools, I was able to migrate local community groups to Zoom. Therefore, regular weekly meetings enabled some form of pastoral care. Allowing myself to check on the well-being of many individuals who also had been isolated.

How can you get involved?

You can support and connect with the Marmalade Trust; share their resources on your social media platforms, and learn about loneliness and how to start a conversation.

Find out more about the Marmalade Trust and the Loneliness Awareness Week on their website.