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New hobbies helped residents through the pandemic

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
New hobbies helped residents through the pandemic

EVERYONE has had their own individual ways of getting through the tribulations of the last 15 months.

Staying sane, occupied and stimulated during a pandemic which has forced some to stay indoors for days – even weeks – at a time has proved challenging to say the least.

But the lockdowns presented many with the perfect opportunity to chip-away at a new hobby or pasttime — and that’s exactly what residents at an Annan sheltered housing development started doing last year.

The 20 or so retirees living at Lady’s Well quickly became “lonely and isolated” once the initial set of restrictions were put in place, explained scheme manager Jag Patel.

He added: “They hadn’t seen their relatives, friends or whoever and they’d been stuck in their flat for most of the time not able to go out.

“There was no personal face-to-face from March until June or July and then the lockdown was eased for a short period and we were allowed to come for one day a week.

“Initially I was having a daily chat with them to try and find out what their interests were and what they were doing in terms of passing the time whilst they were unable to go out. Some said they did puzzles like sudoku, so as an organisation we bought puzzle books and gave them out and we also approached Tesco for any donations of puzzle books and we passed them on too.”

Jigsaw puzzles also became paramount to keeping residents living at the home on Moat Road busy.

“1000-piece puzzles were done by the residents and a number of them were set-out and we even framed a couple of them,” Jag said.

“Another resident took-up painting,” he added. “He had never done painting in his life and he did painting by numbers – his daughter sent him one and he did that and was so pleased with it that he requested a few more. He done about half a dozen during the lockdown.

“He’s so much into painting now that he’s coming to us every other day to say he’s done x amount of painting and showing us how it’s coming along.

“Another resident was quite interested in crystal beads and making colour crystal bead painting where you take different shaped coloured beads and turn it into a picture. She was good at that and she continued doing it.

“One of the other residents was interested in knitting so she was knitting lots of hats and scarves which were then donated to a local charity.”

Finding each resident something to focus on during the pandemic, Jag said, was the key to holding onto hope.

He added that overcoming isolation and boredom can be achieved by “doing something every day as a challenge”.

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