Further challenges facing older people in 2022
Published on 21 December 2021 10:50 AM
Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says we must all play our part in supporting older people in 2022
As we say goodbye, or even good riddance, to 2021 it seems highly likely that older people in Wales will continue to face more tough challenges as we enter 2022.
Loneliness and isolation, spiralling fuel costs, and of course the worry of the Omicron variant of the Corona virus, are all contributing to what may be a difficult start to 2022.
Our research showed that nearly 87,000 older people in Wales expected to spend Christmas day alone, while an estimated 200,000 older people reported losing a loved one during the pandemic.
And now with temperatures falling and the new Omicron variant adding to people’s fears about leaving home, thousands of older people are set to face increased energy costs estimated to be around £139 per household.
However, there is lots of good advice and support out there to help keep us all safe and well as the New Year unfolds. The nature of Covid variants changes rapidly so we should all try to keep up to date with the latest Welsh Government guidance.
While the basic advice to keep safe remains the same: get vaccinated; take lateral flow tests before meeting others; keep social distancing; wear a face covering; and wash your hands regularly.
Of course, we’re all approaching life with a sense of uncertainty as the Omicron variant affects our plans and activities which could lead to many of us becoming extra cautious. However, while exercising caution we can all still do our bit to stay in touch with people who may be on their own or isolating.
We can still phone our older relatives, friends, and neighbours for a chat. And if someone you know is shielding, you could leave a card with your contact details offering to run errands or help out in cases of emergencies.
Remember that charities such as Age Cymru can offer advice to help older people claim all their entitlements and signpost them to organisations who can help to reduce energy costs and keep homes warmer; our website is full of useful details.
You should also be aware that energy suppliers have a duty to offer support if people are struggling with bills or debt so if you find yourself in such a position contact your supplier and ask what support is available, including an affordable repayment plan.
Our magnificent health and social care workforce did everything they could to help keep older people safe and well during the pandemic. At the same time, our equally magnificent communities did all they could to keep older people supported and connected and I’m confident this will continue into 2022.
At times life may seem particularly tough, at which point we would urge older people to reach out. Call a relative or friend and if that’s not possible call a charity such as Age Cymru for advice or, if you need to talk, call organisations such as Silverline who operate a 24-telephone hour service.
2022 may have a difficult start for many older people but there is much we can all do to make life more bearable for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year.