Age Scotland calls for post lockdown plan for older people

Age Scotland has called for a post-lockdown plan which addresses the needs of older people, as politicians announce a ‘roadmap’ out of the current restrictions.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday (23 February) that there was going to be a ‘phased approach’ to lifting restrictions north of the border.

Ms Sturgeon said restrictions on care home visiting will be relaxed from early March, following new guidance which was published last week.

She indicated the next phase of easing will be around 15 March.

Age Scotland welcomed the publishing of a new ‘roadmap’ for Scotland, but warned that for hundreds of thousands of older people, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact in terms of loss of connection, loss of confidence and record levels of isolation and loneliness.

It added thousands of community groups and activities have been closed over the past year and will face significant barriers to opening again.

These lifeline services in communities across Scotland help tackle loneliness, poverty, keep people active and boost mental and physical health.

‘Today’s announcement of an easing of lockdown measures in the coming months will bring real hope to many older people who have been separated from family and friends for a very long time,’ said Age Scotland chief executive, Brian Sloan.

‘But as we begin to emerge from the challenges of the past year there also has to be a recovery plan in place to support older people at local and national level.

‘The impact of the pandemic on older people cannot be over-estimated. Hundreds of thousands of older people are experiencing crippling levels of isolation and loneliness, many have been cut off from family, friends and community for almost a year and have experienced a decline in their physical and mental health,’ added Mr Sloan.

‘For some of those older people who are struggling, the prospect of a return to pre-pandemic normality might seem overwhelming with many unsure of how to reconnect and pick up the pieces of their life again.

‘It is vital that in the coming weeks and months, support is made available to ensure that older people can rebuild their lives and feel connected once again. We need to work out how best to open the doors to allow older people to feel safe, valued members of society.’

Photo Credit – Centre for Ageing Better

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