LONELINESS and isolation are back at the forefront of thinking for a care provider in the Wee County, amid tightening coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Wee County managers at Mears Care are continuing to focus on small acts of kindness to reduce loneliness among the older people they look after.

Alloa service manager Susan McCormack highlighted how staff are always looking to spend an extra few minutes when visiting service users to chat and actively listen.

Young people have been supporting that effort, with 11-year-old Sophie Brown from Coalsnaughton and Tullibody's Amber Hill, 10, continually delivering cards since the start of lockdown to be distributed to older people.

The girls, pictured, even helped a Dollar lady celebrate her 101st birthday, as previously reported in the Advertiser.

Susan McCormack said: “These young girls are working hard and consistently deliver their work to the office every week to be distributed to the older folks we care for.”

Their efforts have been “extremely well received” ever since.

Recently announced restrictions, aimed at containing the virus following a rising number of cases, are believed to be affecting the most vulnerable the most – as highlighted in the Advertiser last week.

The service manager said: “Social isolation and loneliness are linked to physical and mental conditions that include obesity, heart disease and anxiety and other conditions; and sadly the people who are already isolated become more vulnerable.

“The emphasis is often on bringing people together, creating networks and new friendships and only shows us the need for Age Scotland and the British Red Cross.

“But everyone can help.

“We can show people that they are not alone by simply connecting with friends and family over the phone, check that our neighbours are okay, help with a little shopping, delivering some tasty home baking - all of which can give us a purpose and others a feeling of self-worth.”

Staff are looking to go above and beyond, sourcing an old newspaper story for one service user being one example.

Susan said: “One staff member managed to source an old newspaper that held an article about a service user’s brother who was a famous footballer from 1937 to 1954 and is in Scotland’s Hall of Fame after they held a conversation around the service user's family.

“Margaret, who is the same staff member, is also a fantastic baker and will regularly bake for all her service users.”

Mears Care in the Wee County is looking to recruit more care workers to join the team.

People who like a challenge and are keen to make a difference by supporting people to live independently at home can call the Clacks recruitment team on 01259 768 670.