Our elderly parents and grandparents are cocooning. This effectively means that they are living in total isolation within their homes and we can all help to make a huge difference to their day.

At the best of times, the elderly have it tough enough. With an empty nest around them, they long for and cherish family visits. So, time out in the community is critical for them, be it going to mass, meeting friends at bingo, art classes or bridge or going to the local salon to gat their nails done or a wash and blow-dry. It is the simple things that lifts their spirits.

In the case of their visit to the salon or barbers, it is so much more then getting their nails done or a wash and blow-dry that lifts their spirits.  The little bit of magic is being welcomed by name, it’s the personal knowledge that their local hairdresser, barber and those working in the salon have built up over the years that makes the elderly client relaxed and at ease in their company.

Right now this social interaction is a big missing in the lives of our older generation.

HABIC (Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation of Ireland) has launched the #ReachOutandConnect campaign in association with Age Action Ireland. HABIC is urging their members and salon and barbers throughout the county, to lift the phone and #ReachOutandconnect with their vulnerable and isolated clients.

Sam Donnelly of Sam Barbers and member of the HABIC Ireland Advisory Board explains,

“We are all experiencing massive upheaval in our lives. For many of us however, we have children home from school to keep us busy and many are still working from home. This upheaval is especially felt by our elderly parents and grandparents as it is they who are affected most. They are most at risk and lets face it, every time they turn on the radio or the tv, they are being reminded of this. It has to be terrifying for them. Unfortunately due to the threat of the corona virus, all hair and beauty salons are now closed and the weekly social therapy and community lifeline that is the visit to the hairdressers is now gone. HABIC is urging salons to pick up the phone and check in with their elderly clients. Knowing that someone if thinking about them, misses their company and looks forward to seeing them when all of this is over will mean so much. It also gives the older client the opportunity to talk and express their concerns which might be something they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do. We believe that a simple call will brighten their day and give them hope. It really is the simple things that make a difference.

Barbers, hairdressers and other beauty specialists have a very special role to play in the social lives of our elderly. They are natural givers and listeners and shouldn’t underestimate the comfort that they can bring at this very lonely and frightening time. HABIC asks that salon owners take a few minutes everyday and make a call, or encourage their staff to reach out and connect with their client list. For now ‘a friendly face’ needs to become ‘a friendly voice’.”

Age Action Ireland fully support this campaign,

Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for all older people and providing Emergency Response Services and a Hardship Fund to older people, is delighted to see HABIC Ireland members further supporting the needs of older people who are at a high risk of the impacts of COVID-19.  We know that older people need more support at this time, particularly with the additional social isolation restrictions and cocooning for over 70s. There are 426,331 people aged over 70 in Ireland, of which 175,205 people have a disability and 117,123 live alone.  Simply making a call to check-in on older people in the local community and have a chat is something that anyone can do that can be of vital assistance to ensure older people do not become further isolated from their communities.

For more information and guidance on how best to support your elderly clients, neighbours and family members please see www.habic,ie/reachoutandconnect




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