Welcome to this our next newsletter for PAiL members, partners and older Londoners. Please feel free to distribute to your friends, colleagues or members or to use any of the information or links and include in your own newsletters. Our aim is to be a voice of older Londoners and to ensure that our concerns, issues and recommendations are heard and relayed to the GLA, local boroughs and relevant government and health officials. Only if decision makers are open to feedback from those at the sharp end of services can they understand and act on that which is working and that which is not.
You will see that we are including a number of links to advice and petitions from partner age organisations, please send us more such links for future editions.
PAiL now has a new webmaster and we are re-designing the site to be more interactive, so do have look at us on www.pailondon.org.uk as well as connecting up to our twitter and facebook pages which we are also now updating on a regular basis and this week we are focusing on issues facing older people during Coronavirus, and we are always supportive of information, support and educational and change ideas that people are actively involved in.
Finally if you are interested in online discussion and debate around the issues of age and coronavirus our Chair has now set up his own independent blog chriswalshblog.com.
The current main concerns of our members and those of our partners are as follows:
We have submitted responses about how to make transport in London more age friendly to the GLA and as part of the Age UK London’s response, as this is an issue that is becoming very important to older Londoners now that lock down is being eased, especially for those needing to travel during the rush hour for work or attending hospital appointments. There is a lot of debate around the impact of the government forcing the Mayor to reduce the use of the freedom pass to after the rush hour at 9.30 pm.
We are following up our request to the GLA and London boroughs to copy best practice and have printed messages and news letters sent to all older Londoners, those at risk and those healthy and active as well as providing up to date operational phone numbers following on from the Government’s spokesperson agreeing that digital exclusion is a problem needing to be overcome . https://pailondon.org.uk//var/www/vhosts/pailondon.org.uk/httpdocs/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/response-to-mayor-re-digital-divide.docx
London boroughs examples of best practice
Our monitoring of mail outs and websites from different London boroughs shows that some are leading the way and we encourage you to look at the best to push your own council to copy them. Here is an example of best practice from the Borough of Lambeth about what they are doing around pavements and social distancing – and inviting local people to flag up problems https://lambethtransportcovidresponsemap.commonplace.is/
Keeping well at home
This booklet provides information and advice on how to stay healthy specifically for older people in isolation. It gives practical advice on healthy eating and simple to follow exercises you can do in the house.
A copy can be downloaded from http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=49104
Intelligence Unit responses
Qs and As re coronavirus from Independent Age- by all means use these, which are still up to date on your own sites https://www.independentage.org/FAQCOVID19
Which? Magazine’s Advice Re The Coronavirus
Which? magazine is providing its members and now non-members with free access
to advice on the virus. Access via https://www.which.co.uk/news/coronavirus/
Petitions which our partners are promoting – if you agree with these then click and join in!
The Trade Bill is being debated on Wednesday, so there is no time to lose. Write to your MP today and let them know that every part of our NHS belongs to us – not those who are looking for vast profits from deals that leave ordinary people unable to get health care. A templated letter can be found on the below link.
The NPC are backing the below petition which calls on the Chancellor to ensure there is not a pay freeze for frontline workers – but a payrise.
Protecting older people post COVID 19- what older people and PAiL thinks
Even though we have the beginnings of a relaxation in lockdown for many older people there is considerable caution. According to the latest survey from Ipsos Mori, 59 per cent of over 65s would be uncomfortable about using public transport, 40 per cent uncomfortable about shopping for non-food essentials and 64 per cent would be uncomfortable visiting bars or restaurants. Understandably we will be moving into a new uncertain world. PAiL is very concerned that older people are protected and their needs and views are taken into account by policy makers as the nation responds to the virus. The difficulty is knowing what the society and economy will look like and the changing implications for older people, so we have to keep up and keep telling the powers that be what we think, what we want and fear.
Take health, the virus has meant that 7 in 10 patients have received GP care remotely, and even with relaxation online consultations are going to become more common and we don’t know how this will affect older people. The inevitable collapse of local charities could mean a lessening of practical support for older people unless the tide of community support continues and is translated into charity activities backed with resources. But even the local high street will be different with many local cafes and shops visited by older people being forced to close. Public transport will be different not just a reluctance to travel, but reduced services because of the loss of revenue. The question will be whether buses to local hospitals get protected in the review of what services should be maintained, what the future for community transport and hospital transport is going to be.
Many have identified the increase in older people using social media as a positive benefit of lockdown – 37 per cent have used it more – and clearly online shopping will increase dramatically. But the virus has vividly demonstrated the digital divide amongst older people, with 27 per cent of older people not using social media and not accessing key information, support, zoom gatherings or the many online choirs, theatre, and music performances. How will older people be encouraged and supported to use online communications confidently if that is the new normal – a massive undertaking in the post crisis world. These are just a few of the possible implications over the next twelve to eighteen months we’ll have to cope with.
PAiL is undertaking a piece of work to assess the implications of the changes happening because of the virus and how they affect older people. We are wanting to raise issues with government and policy makers but we need to hear about your views and concerns about what life is now like and what you think ought to be the priorities for government to help older people . Please send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Immediate survival – Your energy needs by the FPA
If you are in trouble with your bill or meter, do contact the FPA who are not distributing fuel vouchers — we have no funding, and there are people better placed than us to do this work. However, we are working with people who have raised money for this purpose (eg Repowering London, in Lambeth; SGTO in Southwark – see Covid-19 fundraiser here) and wherever you are, if you let us know, we will do our best to put you in touch with help, including pressing your energy supplier for a better response to your emergency.
We are also keen to hear from you what problems you are having, and whether you have been able to access support, in order to better fuel our pressure on both the government and suppliers. Personal stories can be powerful!