Ruthie Henshall warns care home residents are 'dying of loneliness'
Suffolk West End star Ruthie Henshall will fight for care home visits to be allowed to prevent residents “dying from loneliness” during lockdown - after her own mother's health rapidly declined.
Ruthie, who starred recently in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! is working alongside Rights for Residents to pass a new law which would allow care home residents access to their friends and families for just a couple of hours every week.
It comes after Ruthie revealed in a series of national television and radio interviews that her mother Gloria's health has "crumbled" in a care home during lockdown.
She said her mother had gone from someone who could move about and talk, as well as eat meals, to someone who sits alone in her room and has to be fed by staff.
Ruthie maintains this rapid decline in her mother’s health is entirely due to the fact that she has been confined to her room since last March, with only occasional visits from care workers to make sure she is all right.
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Gloria, who suffers from dementia, had her first vaccine last week - but this has not changed the Henshall family’s access to their mother.
Ruthie has been told that the second jab won’t come for another three months and she is worried about the effect this lack of contact will have on her mum.
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“Before last March, she could walk and talk and after four months of isolation she just plummeted downhill," Ruthie told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"I think this situation is just unacceptable.
“We have to be the eyes, ears and memories of our loved ones and they are just dying of loneliness.
"Every other member of society has had the right of a support bubble and people in care homes are not being given that right.
“Access, contact, a friendly, familiar face could work wonders.
"We are not asking for unlimited visiting rights. We are asking for two hours a week.
"We want Parliament to follow Canada’s lead and pass emergency legislation that enshrines our rights as emergency family carers in law.
“All they need is someone they know to talk to, to share photographs, be hugged and touched. My mother hasn’t been properly touched in nearly a year.
"We need to act now to save our loved ones living in care homes. We need the government not only to listen but to do something.”
David Henshall, Gloria's husband, Ruthie's father and former Ipswich Star editor, died in April 2020.