When a hip injury forced her to slow down, 80 year old Agnes Johnson decided to put the time off her feet to good use and set about making handmade Christmas decorations for local people who might be lonely.
Agnes, who has been a volunteer with the Irish Red Cross for over 30 years, says she got the idea when she realised that many people wouldn’t be able to have visitors to their homes and care homes this year due to Covid-19.
“I was telling my daughter that I wanted to crochet some decorations for older people in the area and she said to me, ‘Mam, you are one of the older people in the area!’ I’m lucky though because I have my kids and my grandkids close by and I know that some people don’t have anyone. It can get very lonely, especially at this time of the year and I just wanted them to know that someone was thinking of them.”
“Anyway”, she joked, “when I’m sitting down making decorations it keeps me out of harm’s way.”
With some time on her hands, Agnes managed to crochet over 100 decorations, which were then delivered by other Irish Red Cross volunteers, along with meals or groceries and included in Meals on Wheels deliveries in the area.
Agnes, from Donnycarney in Dublin, is a Therapeutic Care Practitioner with the Irish Red Cross, giving hand, arm, neck and shoulder massages to care home residents and people in hospices and hospital. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions these services had to be suspended and Agnes says that, as much as she misses these visits, she knows the residents must be missing them even more.
“A lot of the time you’re providing a bit of a listening ear for people and it’s heartbreaking to think they won’t have that now. When I was doing the decorations I was thinking that every stitch I do is one of my thoughts going to someone who is lonely and needs it.”
During Covid-19 the Irish Red Cross has been delivering groceries and prescriptions to older and isolated people in communities across Ireland. The volunteers have also been busy delivering vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to care homes, women’s refuges and community locations such as schools, around the country.
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