Last night’s episode of the SBS program Insight examined the impact of isolation on the human psyche. This is clearly a particularly apposite topic at the moment, given the fact that so many people — especially older people — are locked away from the world because of their potential vulnerability to Covid-19.
The program is worth watching in full — it features those who have experience extreme isolation, like Antarctic meteorologist Leon Hamilton, and solo yachtswoman Jessica Watson — but readers will be particularly interested to see that the program also includes excerpts from an extensive interview with Ricky Buchanan, the householder who was the subject of the excellent feature published last year in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald about homeshare.
Buchanan (right) suffers from myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, and is thus bedridden for much of the time. She speaks movingly about her condition, and about the strategies — podcasts, her computer, and the sudden surfeit of concerts/shows/etc that have appeared online due to Covid-19 — she uses to ward off loneliness. We were delighted to hear her discuss how homeshare has allowed her to bring in her “awesome” flatmate, Josh van Dijk, who has been able to help out around the house — and, more importantly, has broken the otherwise relentless isolation. Ricky makes the point that “It’s really nice to have someone around who’s not paid to look after you,” and says, “[Josh] brings the world in, and makes my life a lot better.”
It was wonderful to hear how Home Share Melbourne has had such a positive impact on Ricky;s life! The epsiode is now available for Australian residents on SBS’s on-demand viewing service, and we encourage everyone to have a look — and to share it far and wide!