Message from local Community Garda

May 17th, 2020 6:25 PM

By Southern Star Team

Bantry Community Garda Brigid Hartnett.

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WELL, what a strange and uncertain time for us all. During the last several weeks our day to day lives have changed.

Our usual habits have been replaced with different ones as we all try to our best to adapt to these extraordinary and unusual times. But what we have picked up over the last few weeks is that our habits will have to change for the future even as lockdown finishes.

Maintaining social distance (2 metres) is key and continuously washing and disinfecting our hands will make a difference.

We each have a personal responsibility to practise self-care especially in a time such as this.

This could mean maintaining boundaries such as telling a neighbour to stay outside the door or even refusing visitors. Some people have got to be reminded constantly that these are different times and it is all for our safety.

In this together

We all may feel isolated at different times and there has been a lot of adjusting to be done. But remember this is happening all over the world.

Creating a daily structure is so important to assist our feelings of mental wellbeing. When we lose all structure it can be very hard to self-motivate. This goes for all age groups.

From visiting and speaking with the elderly in the Bantry area, I think we should all consider limiting our time listening to news updates and further death releases.

Maybe set a limit on the amount of times you listen or see the news as this can assist in lessening anxieties and create better self-care. We do not want our minds and brains feeling overwhelmed with the amount of negative news and information.

But, at the same time, technology is a great means to stay connected. Phone, text, WhatsApp email will all help us to stay in contact with one another. This in turn will contribute to a sense of togetherness that is really required to help us cope now and the weeks ahead.

The additional time at home can bring tension but it can also be an ideal opportunity to reconnect and develop and strengthened relationships within a family. Remember the great service of Call Link in Bantry, 027-52727, operating a phone service to link in and check up on people.

Acts of kindness

It has been amazing in this time of crisis that people have instinctively come together to help and share and show solidarity with one another. Our amazing nurses and doctors and care workers are leading the way during extremely challenging times. But I have witnessed such kindness and goodness in this community that it would really make you proud. Neighbours coming together looking out for elderly. Collecting and dropping off medicines and shopping and doing jobs in gardens to name a few. The one good thing to evolve out of this horrible situation is the kindness and time being given for free for the benefit of others.

Local business have also contributed so much dropping of beautiful food and meals to frontline workers despite the hardship they are currently experiencing.

Let us all remember just how selfless and generous these businesses have been and when we get back up and running we can demonstrate our thanks by supporting and shopping locally.   

Meals on wheels are delivering meals on a daily basis. The local authority community hubs have been set up in every location to link you up with help or services if you need them. Any vulnerable person that needs to make contact should ring 0818 222 024.

The following valuable services are provided:

·Food collection and delivery – food, essential items, fuel, medication

·Transport to community testing centres

·Social isolation supports and engagement

· Meals and delivery

· Garda-related

·Other medical needs/health needs,

Whether you are stuck indoors and self-isolating or minding children or rushing to another 12-hour shift on the frontline, try to remember we all have a part to play. Try to remember why it is so important why you are doing what you are doing and why that is important to us.

When we see what we are trying to achieve as a family, as a community, as a country, it starts to put some perspective on the issue. Yes, we have to make sacrifices and, yes, it can be lonely and difficult, but look at the greater picture – it is making a difference.

We know this will pass in time and we shall return to normal but until then keep up the great job you are doing. Now, more than ever, stay safe.

If you need assistance make the call ask for help, reach out. Help is only a call away.

• Brigid Hartnett is a Community Garda in Bantry.

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