Mrs Mary Rose Crozier, 92, formerly of Bonhill Road, Dumbarton, received a visit at last from her daughter, Mrs Mary Carr. Mrs Crozier is a resident at Crosslet Care Home in Dumbarton.

By Lucy Ashton

Happy day. Mrs Mary Rose Crozier, 92, formerly of Bonhill Road, Dumbarton, received a visit at last from her daughter, Mrs Mary Carr. Mrs Crozier is a resident at Crosslet Care Home in Dumbarton where, due to Covid restrictions, families have been unable to visit their loved ones for almost a year.

The visit, which follows a campaign, took place under new restrictions which now apply in the West Dunbartonshire Council-run care home. Top picture is of Mrs Crozier with daughters Dorothy and Mary.

Meanwhile, in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday,  Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP) expressed his delight at the resumption of visiting in care homes.

He said: “I am pleased about the resumption of care home visits this month, not least because my mother resides in one.

“Safety is obviously important, but so is human contact between loved ones. What risk assessment has been made to ensure that safety measures do not overwhelm vulnerable residents to the extent that they are unable to recognise their visitors?”

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ” There is guidance in place and we have taken care around that for the reasons that Kenny Gibson sets out, among others. Obviously, care home providers are in the position of ensuring that visiting is as safe as possible and that all the factors that Kenny Gibson outlines are taken into account.

“There is no doubt that, next to getting young people back to school, giving families the ability to visit older relatives in care homes is our top priority. After that, of course, we desperately want us all to have the ability to visit and spend time with our loved ones.”

The question of loneliness amongst the elderly was also raised in parliament.

Liam Kerr  told MSPs that the Evening Express reported on an elderly Aberdeen man, who was experiencing extreme loneliness, following his devoted wife’s passing several years ago.
He added: “Age Scotland estimates that, before the pandemic, every street in Scotland housed a chronically lonely older person, and that has only got worse. Since 2018, we have been pushing for a national loneliness awareness campaign.
“When can we expect that vital campaign to be brought in? Will the First Minister join me in encouraging any older person to call the Age Scotland free helpline for advice, information or just a chat—on 0800 12 44 222—so that we can try to ensure that what we heard about in Aberdeen might never be repeated?”
Nicola Sturgeon replied: “Yes, I very much agree, and this relates to the answer that I gave to Brian Whittle earlier. We need to think about how we support people to reconnect as we come out of what I hope is a unique situation.
“Loneliness, which was already an issue before the pandemic, has undoubtedly been exacerbated and, as we reconnect, a tackling loneliness awareness campaign will be part of what we do.
“We all have a part to play in that, however, and now, more than ever, is a time to think of elderly people or people in our networks who are alone, whether they are neighbours, friends or family members, and how we can reach out and help.
Finally, I absolutely endorse the promotion of the Age Scotland helpline—0800 12 44 222. At this time last year, I visited Age Scotland to announce the funding to expand that helpline, to enable it to deal with more people through the pandemic.
“The helpline has been doing a great job, it is a fantastic resource and people who need it should not hesitate to use it.”

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