A Mid Ulster woman says pensioners are suffering from loneliness and frustration as the Covid-19 lockdown rumbles on into its fifth week.
Dorothy Hamilton lives in Cookstown and receives support from the Mid Ulster Age Sector network set up by Age NI, who have an office in Magherafelt.
“I feel like a prisoner in my own house, to tell you the truth,” said the 86-year-old.
“I used to take the car to Tesco, and I looked forward to going to get groceries and all, but that’s out of the question now. It’s like being in the army, I believe, in Tesco now, it’s hard work.
The loneliness of the lockdown was brought into sharp focus for Dorothy last week when she celebrated her 86th birthday at home.
She said: “I had my birthday on Monday, and I was here on my own. I suppose people wanted to come round but they couldn’t come in.
“It’s awful having to spend your birthday on your own with no visitors at all. It’s been three weeks or a month since I’ve been out, I’m fed up on my own in the house.
“It’s a quiet place to live, but I didn’t realise it could be as quiet as it is now. All my friends have moved out to elsewhere. It’s difficult at times.”
When the lockdown was first announced, Dorothy did her best to make the most of the free time, but as time went on, it became more difficult.
She said: “It’s been three weeks or a month since I’ve been out, I’m fed up on my own in the house. I try to keep dressed reasonably well as if I’m going out somewhere.
“I was grand at the start for ten days or so. I sat one day sewing and was quite content and it passed the afternoon for me, but you can only pass the time for so long and the rest of the time you don’t know what to do with yourself.”
“With things the way they are, I must start and exercise, but I’m very sore. I sat one day sewing and was quite content and it passed the afternoon for me.”
The former health service worker says the support she is getting from Mid Ulster Age Sector network, and in particular Linda and Raymond McGarvey, has been a real help.
Dorothy says Linda is very strict, but she understands the need for the stringent measures and is aware of the danger the virus can pose.
“Linda comes down and she’s really strict – she has gloves and the lot,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to this ban being lifted but old people are dying in the homes like flies. The economy is terrible. I would hate to have a small business because I’d have to close.
“I miss getting out in the car most of all. I don’t drive all that far but I miss getting out down the road. That’s all gone.
“I also used to walk for miles but if you went out on your own here now, they’d think you weren’t wise!”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.