With the onset of Covid-19 the Co-op identified a serious mental health issue among older people who were cocooning as per Government restrictions introduced to contain Coivd-19. The resulting isolation and loneliness have been exacerbated by a general lack of IT skills and/or hardware, and / or a knowledge of how to use smart technology.
As a response to this problem the Co-op put together two sets of activity packs with the aim of supporting older people to take care of their physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing while staying safe at home. Since March 2020 the Co-op has delivered:
- 635 Older People’s Cocooning Kits were delivered in May 2020 (containing a pack of 12 Colouring Pencils and a Sketch Pad, an Adult Activity Book – 170 Crosswords/Sudoku/Puzzles etc, a Deck of Cards, a copy of Ireland’s Own Magazine, a DCC Stay Active Booklet and a HSE Community Physio Booklet and other assorted goodies. Each activity pack included an in-house developed ‘Cocoon Kit, keep yourself healthy and fit’, which is an 84 page activity book containing resources, quizzes, HSE information, Helpline Phone numbers, recipes, and suggestions to keep ourselves healthy in body, mind and spirit).
- 880 Samhain Activity Packs were delivered in October 2020 (containing a copy of Ireland’s Own, four different social history maps; Let’s Get Moving Again, an exercise booklet from the HSE; various information leaflets and booklets of interest to older people, a crochet needle and wool for women, a Rubik’s cube for men, a succulent plant, a notebook and pen, a packet of soup and lots of other goodies). Each activity pack included an in-house developed Samhain Activity Pack booklet, a 47 page activity book containing information on how to care for physical health, i.e. promoting blood circulation and the importance of hydration; for mental health i.e. journaling exercises, poems, a piece on minding yourself in the midst of Covid-19, and stories on how older people across the city are coping with Covid-19; and for spiritual health i.e. meditations, information on how to crochet and crochet patterns.
Both in-house activity booklets were designed to complement the contents of the activity pack itself. For example the colouring pencils were included in the first activity packs with the intention that they could be used for the adult mindfulness colouring pages contained in the Cocoon Kit.
It has been such a joy for all the Co-op members and staff who worked on these projects. And older people who received the Activity packs have been delighted to be thought of and to receive a surprise pack of varied resources. to work on this project.
Here are some of the comments from recipients:
- ‘I know you all must be really busy and it’s so nice that we still find time to think of him with these packs”
- ‘Thanks so for much for thinking of us, you really thought of everything, what a great surprise.’
- ‘ I really love Ireland’s Own, I’ve never bought one. The only time I’ve ever read it is in waiting rooms, doctor’s surgery etc.. It was such a treat to be able to sit down with it at home with a nice cup of tea and a bar of chocolate, I’m going to post it to my brother when I’m finished.’