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Brummies in lockdown

balcony

People involved with Ageing Better in Birmingham share their experiences of living in lock-down. 

Jeraldene: 

Jeraldene is one of our Age of Experince group members. She says:

"I am aching a lot because I'm sitting so much but apart from that I am doing well."

The social distancing measures are not affecting me because I am on lock down for 12 weeks. I'm following government advice which because of my health situation means staying inside or standing on my balcony and looking out my kitchen window. I found myself getting angry with all the people out there who are walking around and not keeping to the social distancing advice.

I spend my time listening to the radio in the day and watch a bit of TV at night. I find the best thing to keep one's mind active is to listen to the radio because it makes me think and feel, and contemplate more. But I've also done a bit of reading. I have started the Paul O'Grady books. His autobiography sure do make me laugh! His writing is the same wit that he had on stage as Lily Savage!

I am doing okay for food because I have a carer who goes out once a week for food for herself and me. As she is not allowed in the flat, I use my banking app to pay her.

The thing that has cheered me up the most during periods of isolation is the video calls or FaceTime with people I know. I get at least one phone call a day, sometimes three. I've also mastered using Hangouts with the help of Sam who coordinates and support all the members of the group. It's great using Hangouts because I was only seeing one person a week until I started using it. Last week I saw 16 people because I had a video call with Sam and some other members of the Ageing Better group, and then on Thursday I had another video chat with a group of ladies I meet up with normally. We ended up nattering until 8pm when we had to call it a day so that we could go and clap outside for all of the frontline staff. It makes me think of all the people working for the NHS, the lorry drivers delivering food, the council workers emptying our bins, the postal workers delivering parcels and letters, the van drivers delivering the stuff we order off the internet, the care workers which a friend of mine is one. I am looking forward to the two video calls I have this week too!

I have not taken up any new activity. I would have done some decorating but I did not get the paint in before the shutdown so I couldn't start it. For physical activity I have a stepper which I use each day. I have never been a really physical person but even with no stepper one could use one's stairs (if one has any). My neighbour Peter is putting my rubbish down the chute because on my landing there are six other people so I am not allowed into the area where it is. The only bit of outdoors that I can use is a ten by two feet six sized balcony but at least I have a great view from it. I can see all over Barr Beacon Aldridge Cannock chase. "

Nina: 

Nina is also an Age of Experince group member, she says: 

"I am so pleased with myself! I have done my first bit of exercise outdoors since the 18th March (This was written 11 May). 

"I was getting to a point where I didn't want to go out at all, not even for a walk around the block. So my daughter and son-in-law came around on their bikes last on Sunday and asked me whether I'd like go for a ride by the canal. 

"So I got on my bike and we got going riding along the canal, while staying safe by keeping the recommended distance. Well, I can tell you it was great! The views down there are so beautiful. It was just what I needed! I had messages from my friends saying 'Well done' as whey had noticed how low I was becoming. The bike ride gave me a real boost. Hopefully it's something we could do every Sunday! 

"I noticed the sign which Sustrans put up too - which was great because I knew how long it would take there and back. It was the first time I have ever ridden that far by the canal. So for my first trip out since March, I felt so pleased when I completed it there and back!"

Winnie: 

I am one of the lucky ones.

Winnie, a member of a community group called Essington House Club which has been supported by the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme, shares her experience of the lock-down. 

Since the restrictions began, Winnie has kept in touch with members of her local group by phone. She says:

"Just talking to people make them feel alive. It keeps spirits up and helps them feel like they have not been abandoned. For many of the members, it was their only social contact and the only time they left their homes. One of them said to me: "I hope and pray that it will not be too long before we can get together again!" 

"One lady that I call cares for her husband and she has said that when I call her it makes her feel that she has not been forgotten and someone is thinking about her and cares about how she is. I feel good within myself knowing that I have done something worthwhile when I call someone who is not well or cannot leave their house. The people I call tell me how much they appreciate my keeping in touch with them.

"I am one of the lucky ones even though I am in my eighties. My health is good and I have no underlying health conditions. Today I have gone out for a walk for some exercise. I know many other people cannot do this because of their health or mobility.'"

Birmingham Carers supported through the pandemic
Time in isolation well spent!