Arklow’s former harbourmaster, Tommy Myler, is among the residents of Blainroe Lodge in Wicklow who feature in the opening episode of a new podcast series chronicling the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in our nursing homes.
The series of six podcasts, presented by Wicklow journalist Valerie Cox, visits nursing homes across the Firstcare Nursing Home Group in Wicklow, Dublin and Kildare.
Residents talk about their lives during lockdown and the joy the vaccine brought, suddenly they feel safer and see a very positive future. Visits from family are so much closer now and they can begin to look forward to hugging their grandchildren again.
The podcasts also tell the stories of the care teams and the difficulties they encountered in keeping the residents safe and their own fears as they fought to stay Covid-free themselves.
There are nurses and carers who tell how they spent their days in heavy protective gear and who spent their evenings at a safe distance from their own families. Frank and honest, there were bad days and frightening days but the advent of a vaccine has changed everything.
But, most of all, this is a unique insight into the men and women who have made these care homes their own homes. They remember the lives they led as farmers, shopkeepers and tell golden stories from long ago. These are the people who made Ireland what it is today and who saw the nation thrive, people who raised families and who lived through tough times and survived.
They have now progressed to an active retirement and many of them are anxious to start going out into the community again.
‘I think what really came across was how the residents see themselves as part of the local community and indeed many of them are living in the communities where they lived all their lives. And that community respects and appreciates their involvement and the interesting lives they have led. For many of them, Covid although unique, was just another challenge for people who have seen pretty much everything that life can throw at them,’ says Valerie Cox.
This is confirmed by John O’Donnell, Managing Director of the Firstcare Group:
“Everyone hears the statistics but sometimes we forget that there are real people behind them, people who are resilient and positive. During the worst of days they were engaging in new activities and offering fellow residents and staff encouragement and friendship.’
In the first episode Valerie also talks to Director of Nursing at Blainroe Lodge, Louise Moran and residents Maggie Pollard (99) from Avoca and Charlotte Bestell (96) from Redcross.
The first episode of “Meet the newly-vaccinated residents” is available from tomorrow morning at www.firstcare.ie.