© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

What can we learn from the elderly for isolation?

Emma Olsen
A Summerset village resident with one of the staff members
A Summerset village resident with one of the staff members  Summerset - Facebook

The elderly aren't finding life any different since lockdown started and they share advice they have for New Zealanders during this time.

Metronews spoke with three residents at the Summerset Retirement Village and it seems as though life couldn't be any better.

Jennifer Baltrop, 79, said lockdown had been very good.

"Here we've been spoilt because every night we order a meal and we get a beautifully cooked dinner including dessert. We have got absolutely nothing to complain about."

Jennifer and her husband are lucky because they have each other and feel very sorry for the people where there's just one.

"It would be quite lonely so we've sent some food parcels around to others just because of how hard it may be for them."

When asked what advice Jennifer could give other New Zealanders, she said the most important thing was to communicate.

"If they can talk to somebody then they should because I think everybody needs a bit of communication.

"Just hang in there because, in the end, you'll get stronger. They've just got to remember that eventually it will pass by and something good always comes out of it."

Barbara Hill, 88, is one of the Kiwis living by herself during lockdown after her husband passed away last year. 

"It's a bit lonely, but being in the village is a lovely situation because I'm getting to know people and I'm much happier."

Life outside lockdown didn't look a lot different for Barbara. The only thing is now she can't get close to people.

"A couple of days ago we had a gorgeous afternoon and dozens of us all sat in a great big circle, two metres apart. We were in this lovely garden with flowers all around and I thought 'well the world's okay really'."

Barbara said she's jolly lucky to have such wonderful people looking after her and she wants to let people know that it's all going to finish sometime.

"We've just got to wait it out and try and be as bright as we can. Make the best of what's given to you and enjoy it."

Ann Sutcliffe, 74, and her husband are also being well looked after.

"If we need groceries, they do it. We still have access to things like books in the library, they send out messages to us every day and we can do as much or as little as we want."

Ann imagined it must be very difficult for people who didn't live in a village but said everyone should try and stay active.

"Staying active is definitely the way to go. It may be hard for people to stay motivated at this time so they're just hanging in there waiting for it to be over, but going for a walk, doing stuff in your garden or some spring cleaning in the house will help."

Summerset Village resident walking her dog
Summerset Village resident walking her dog Summerset - Facebook