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Age UK comment on social distancing

Published on 17 March 2020 03:00 PM

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “There are some simple steps we can all take that will make a huge the difference in, what may prove to be, some difficult weeks and months ahead.


“First and foremost, it will be important to make sure older and more vulnerable people have the things they need to stay safe and well at home. Picking up some shopping, prescriptions or running some errands could be a major help. However we also know that staying home alone creates its own risks. In particular the risk of becoming physically inactive and of a growing sense of loneliness and isolation which might occur after a prolonged period indoors. Doing what we can to encourage older people to stay physically active at home and ensuring they remain connected and included will be essential. This could mean making sure people have what they need to keep going with their hobbies and interests, for example going to libraries for older people, or items that can help with hobbies, like wool if they are knitters.  


“It is also time to think creatively about ways for people to stay in contact with each other and keep morale up. Now that everyone aged over 70, or with a serious health condition, is being advised to stay mostly at home and to avoid social gatherings and having visitors it is more important than ever to stay in touch over the phone, online or by post. Other than the usual routes of communication, one other example could be for instance a neighbourly Book Club dial-in. It might turn out that some of these options turn out to be a good way to nip loneliness in the bud in the long-term as well.


“What’s crucial is finding ways to keep people informed and in contact in a way which is low risk and ensuring older and more vulnerable people are protected. As these events unfold and we know more about what’s to come the advice may well change, so it’s important to keep up to date with reliable sources of information such as the NHS or Age UK website.”

-- Ends --

Notes to editors:

A copy of Age UK's 'It Doesn't Add Up' campaign report can be found here

[i] Age UK. February 2022. Research briefing: Estimating the impact of the April 2022 energy price cap rise on older households in England. Age UK [Online]. Available at:

[ii] Age UK. May 2022. Research Briefing: Estimating the impact of rising prices on older households in the UK in 2022-23. Age UK [Online]. Available at

[iii] Older households are defined as households with at least one person aged 60 or over.

[iv] ‘Over the next year’ refers to 2022/23.

[v] The snapshot survey was carried out online.

[vi] Those in receipt of Pension Credit, which can be backdated for three months and tops up the weekly income of a single pensioner to £182.60 or a pensioner couple to £278.70, (or higher in some circumstances) could also be entitled to the following:

  • A Cold Weather Payment of £25, paid automatically when the average temperature is 0°C or below over seven consecutive days
  • £140 off electricity bill thorough the Warm Home Discount Scheme, if eligible
  • A free TV licence (if also over-75)
  • Free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital
  • Help with Council Tax
  • Help with rent
  • Cheaper phone and home broadband deals
  • Reduced water bills
  • An extra amount of Pension Credit for some carers worth up to £38.85 a week.

Age UK

We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well-being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

For more information

Contact the Age UK Media team on 020 3033 1430 during office hours (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:30) or for out-of-hours media support please email 

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Last updated: May 26 2022

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