[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_column_text]“It never occurred to me that I was suffering from depression. I’d kept myself busy throughout lockdown; there were daily phone calls from friends and family. But gradually the world seemed to lose its colour – it looked a bit grey, even on a sunny day. Hobbies seemed more trouble than they were worth and I did skip the odd meal; didn’t seem to have much of an appetite. Looking back, I can see that I was missing hugs and company. Without seeing people, life was flat – depressed.” Jean, shielding alone, March – July 2020 Something very strange has happened to us all over the past few months. We’ve become wary of touching each other, whether it’s a hug, holding hands, a reassuring pat on the shoulder, or a handshake. For those that spent lockdown alone, the impact has been most acute. Francis McGlone, a professor of neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University, says that living without touch has “has long-term effects on our physical and mental wellbeing”.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_column_text]The journey we take with our parents is one the most profound experiences of our lives. From seeing them as giants or superheroes in childhood, we gradually have to come to terms with the fact they’re flawed human beings. Once this painful discovery is made in our teens, our relationship can flower as they become loved companions and mentors. Then, as we grow older, we witness our parents becoming vulnerable, and needful of care, themselves.