During the pandemic I have been involved in supporting the vulnerable. This has been a confusing time for many. In the first wave, people were told to shield and not leave their home. In the second wave they were called clinically extremely vulnerable and were told to stay at home if they were able to. Invariably these individuals, although not exclusively, have been the more older people within society and often those living alone.
The effects of isolation and loneliness, coupled with this new worry, should not be under-estimated, and as time goes on this can break down the confidence of individuals and create long-term mental health issues. As a young woman, I used to visit an elderly neighbour once a week, taking along our pet spaniel, and they said I was the only other human being they had regular interaction with and our visit gave them something to look forward to during the week. This is such a sad situation in which may find themselves in ordinary day-to-day life but amplified to an horrendous extent during the pandemic.
When colleagues and I reached out to these individuals during the pandemic many just wanted to interact. People crave emotional support, particularly at times of social challenge, such as this pandemic.