Like so many others, I have relatives who spent their last months in care homes.

As the last few months have demonstrated, the impact of the pandemic on both staff and residents has been more acute than most of us have had to bear in this half life we have been living.

For those residents with dementia, and their closest relations, it has been a very particular ordeal.

As anyone connected with dementia charities will confirm, adding to the confusion of those afflicted can have a devastating impact. Keeping a routine in terms of surroundings and visitors is imperative to their mental wellbeing.

Covid blew a hole in all these aspirations.

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Torture for those whose world shrinks to their room, and for those compelled to interact with them only through a window.

Little wonder that we hear of elderly residents suddenly refusing to eat, or becoming non compliant with attempts to keep them clean and dressed.

Distressing beyond words for those trying to look after them, in a context where social distancing is not an option and their every shift at work brings with it the fear of accidental infection.

So as this dreadful virus cuts its unforgiving swathe through society, it’s particularly cruel that the care sector has had to bear the consequences in the numbers it has.

As yet the homes in the Helensburgh area have managed to keep most people safe and well.

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While one has experienced four deaths, but is now Covid free, the other three have registered no fatalities.

A small but important victory over the prevailing odds in the pan-Scotland statistics.

Now the trick will be to maintain that level of security at a time when the rest of the world begins to spread tentative social wings.

It will be the most difficult of balancing acts to allow longed-for family reunions whilst ensuring that no visitor unwittingly puts lives at unnecessary risk.

When we go outside tonight, for what seems to be the final night of lauding those in health and social care roles, spare a particular cheer for those who have kept the virus in the black hat at bay.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond here