Covid-19 has impacted many lives but more so of the older people.
The Age UK charity has shared its latest findings which claims that the elderly are suffering and may even suffer more if the government fails to pay attention to their needs.
The analysis by Age UK found that the experience of living through the fear, enforced isolation and inactivity caused by the pandemic has sharply accelerated the care needs of significant numbers of older people in recent times.
The latest findings show that many above 60 years of age in the UK are finding it difficult to do simple chores and even walk by themselves.
“Those who had difficulty walking up and down the stairs before the first lockdown in March 2020 report this activity has become even more worse for them,” said the report.
Many shared that the ability to carry out everyday activities too has worsened since the first lockdown.
The research also highlighted that the older people were unable to go out and about as usual, and led to a more hampered mental and physical well being.
Mentally decreased human contact and intellectual stimulation have caused some older people’s dementia or other form of cognitive decline to progress even more quickly due to the current situation caused by the pandemic.
In addition, the findings also depicted that some older people’s self- confidence too has taken a serious hit while others are experiencing intensified anxiety and depression.
Furthermore, the difficulty or impossibility of accessing timely medical treatment during the pandemic has led some older people’s long term health conditions to become significantly worse.
The charity also found out that there have been 30,000 deaths of care homes residents and nearly 900 deaths of care home staff.
The social care workforce has demonstrated unwavering commitment, but the pandemic has also demonstrated how fragile and fragmented care services often are in England – adding up to something more like a cottage industry than the effective and reliable system which older people need, said the statement by Age UK.
Hence this calls for stronger transformational change and reform of social care.
Age UK that was always vocal about the issues of older people, estimated before the pandemic struck that over 1.6 million people aged 65 did not receive the care and support they need in England, warning that this figure could grow up to 2.1 million people by 2030.
The charity shared that unless government directs significantly more investment into social care as part of a package of reforms these numbers are likely to be underestimates, because of the adverse impact of the pandemic on older people’s health and resilience.
Caroline Abrahams, director at Age UK, said: “It’s really sad that the pandemic has taken such a toll on the mobility, confidence and capacity of millions of older people to live independently without extra support. Specialists in older people’s health warned that this was likely to happen after months of enforced isolation, inactivity and lack of stimulation. Unfortunately, our new analysis shows they were absolutely right.”
The inevitable consequence of this pandemic related damage is that older people’s demand for social care is set to go up even more now, she added.
“It is important that the Government recognises this and makes the extra investments and reforms to beef up and expand our care services so they can meet this growing need.”
She concluded: “Before the pandemic we already knew that 1.6 million older people had some unmet need for care, but our new research shows that this could even go higher this year unless the Government acts fast.”