Age Scotland calls for post lockdown recovery plan which addresses needs of older people
Published on 23 February 2021 03:08 PM
Age Scotland has welcomed the First Minister's roadmap for easing lockdown and called for additional support to be made available so that older people are able to reconnect and can return to taking an active part in society.
The national charity for older people said that there needs to be a clear theme in the recovery plan focused on older people, many of whom have been effectively shielding for almost a year.
For hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland, 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.
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.
While it is excellent news that almost all the vulnerable groups, including older people, have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine and there is now a plan to move safely towards normal life, it is vital to offer support to those who will continue to struggle long after the lockdown restrictions have been lifted.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland chief executive, said:
"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.
"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.
"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.
“Older people must be helped to recover - and thrive - after a pandemic that took so much from them."