COVID has had a dramatic effect on older Londoners, not just the tragic death toll, but the continuing acute challenges to health and wellbeing and independent living which will be heightened with a second lockdown. Many older people have major worries about catching Covid, are suffering from health issues, and experience loneliness and isolation. London data from Independent Age reveals 60 per cent of older Londoners were anxious or worried about the impact Covid was having on their lives and over 40 per cent said their mental health had worsened. As older people are being cautious and staying at home this affects their ability to contribute through volunteering and also spending via the silver economy to help re-boost London’s economy. Getting confidence back for older Londoners is becoming a major challenge.
WHAT’S REQUIRED NOW FOR THE LONDON RECOVERY PLAN?
A clear assessment of the impact of recovery plans on older people
It’s important to assess all the needs of older people affected by Covid in a holistic way recognising that many needs are interdependent and influence other inequalities. Each of the missions needs to have a clear assessment of the implications of aims and actions for older people, based on hard evidence coupled with the views of older people and assuming that for some time “living with covid” will be necessary.
A cross cutting plan for older people
There isn’t a separate mission for older people and not all older people’s needs neatly fit within missions. As such it’s important there’s a cross cutting plan in place addressing the complexity of older people’s needs plus to ensure there is a coherent set of aligned actions to improve the lives of older Londoners. The Older people’s Commissioner for Wales report “Leave no-one behind” is a good example of a coherent plan addressing different needs.
Urgent survival plan for the winter as a precondition for recovery
With a second wave arriving and a second lockdown , Age UK have shown that as many as a third of older people are struggling, creating a potential public health emergency affecting many older people. Given a challenging winter ahead vital actions need to be taken to address many of the short-term urgent priorities affecting older people. PAiL is developing a survival plan based on latest feedback from across its membership and will share this with the LRB.
Why this matters?
Older people need to see the benefits from London’s recovery as helping improve their lives, supporting their contribution to London’s life and giving them a sense of optimism. Key is ensuring London is a truly inclusive city with no one missing out