Faith provides a way through the Iron Curtain and Lockdown
For Liz Clarke, a parishioner at St Anthony’s in Wanniassa, the federal government’s recent decision to allocate half a billion dollars to aged care providers is welcome news.
Liz, whose father Alec resides at a local aged care village, has seen firsthand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures on the elderly.
“The nursing home went really quiet when COVID struck. There are no concerts, less entertainment – it’s much quieter around the place.
In addition, restrictions on weekend family visits and social distancing rules limit interaction between the residents, impacting their community morale. While physical contact and intimacy provide considerable comfort to the elderly, according to Liz, “just holding a resident’s hand is harder now with COVID and social distancing.”
Moreover, while she works near Alec’s village and can visit him during the week, some elderly residents do not receive many or any visitors. Some families are unable to visit due to current weekend restrictions.
With aged care providers experiencing increased work responsibilities due to the coronavirus, Liz is concerned that carers are being stretched to their limits. All visitors to Alec’s village must have their temperature checked upon entry, while Alec himself gets his temperature checked three times a day.
“In an ideal world, it would be good to see more carers and nursing staﬀ around,” Liz says. ‘To find a nurse some days – they’re under the pump when you do find them – to have a quick chat can be diﬃcult.”
Despite these diﬃculties, Alec remains in good spirits. According to Liz, “this is due to his Christian faith and trust in God – Dad is more concerned about his own family and that they continue to trust in God every day.” For Alec, such trust has never been misplaced. He is certain that it was only by God’s help that he could flee the oppression of Soviet Russia occupied Hungary over 70 years ago. After helping others escape the Iron Curtain through a barbed wire fence patrolled by armed soldiers, he travelled on foot across Europe with no guarantee of a next meal while he searched for a new home.
After eventually making it to Australia, ‘” Mum and Dad gave us the best home life,” Liz says gratefully. “Knowing Dad endured such diﬃcult and dangerous times puts things in perspective for me. We all have our flat days and low moods, but it just gets you through if you have a strong Christian faith.”