The deaths of the elderly and vulnerable in the first lockdown was “hugely distressing”, said Bishop Michael Router, Chair of the Council for Healthcare of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
As such, nursing homes should be prioritised and the elderly need more support from the Government, he continued.
Bishop Router also called on people to reach out to the elderly as we enter a new phase of Covid-19 restrictions.
The bishop’s comments came following the revelations of a Covid-19 outbreak among 25 of 27 residents in a Galway nursing home.
Bishop Router described the news as “a sad reminder that our elderly parents, grandparents and relatives are amongst the most vulnerable during this pandemic”.
“As we face a rise in coronavirus cases, we need to remind ourselves that every nursing care home resident is someone’s mother, father, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or friend,” he said.
“The lives of those who live in such facilities should be valued, respected, and enhanced. Nursing homes should be prioritised by the State to ensure that they have the personnel and equipment necessary to deal with the current Covid-19 crisis.”
Bishop Router warned that the new restrictions are distressing for the elderly, especially “as the Autumn evenings close in and days shorten”.
“As society begins a new phase of Covid-19 restrictions I am encouraging people to reach out to support and care for our elderly,” Dr Router said.
“There are small things that we can do to rise above our own concerns and make a contribution that will positively affect the lives of those most in need especially the elderly who live alone,” he continued.
“Human life is sacred and precious from the child in the womb to the elderly person in care. We must do all that we can to protect life and to improve the quality of life for those who are particularly vulnerable.”
He called on parishes to make their elderly parishioners aware of a service called Senior Line, which provides a confidential listening service for older people.
The number for the service is 1800 80 45 91 and the lines are open from 10:00am to 10:00pm, 365 days a year.