COVID-19: How are the over-70s affected?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to increasingly tough measures to protect the UK's most vulnerable, and attempt to prevent further spread. While stretched local authorities are working hard to meet the needs of all, social distancing and self-isolation threatens to have a negative impact on the older generation. We spoke to Retired Carpenter, Duncan, in South Wales, about his thoughts around the ongoing situation.  


Do you feel you’re receiving enough information about the ongoing COVID-19 situation?

Yes. Its constantly on the news, its in the papers every day – 3 or 4 pages. Even the local surgeries, pharmacies, and local councils are distributing pamphlets with information, guidance and advice.


Are you following the government guidance for over-70s?

No, because I feel a lot of this is over the top. To ask someone to stay at home for four months, its too much. Especially as its increasingly difficult to get food from the local shop; and its younger people who are over-buying.


Why are you avoiding self-isolation?

People of any age, all they need to be is sensible. Take care of yourself and take precaution. There’s no need to self-isolate if you’re being sensible.


For older people who are self-isolating, what are the main challenges they’re facing do you think?

One of the main challenges will be boredom. And of course, the second is to get enough of food, and being able to keep themselves warm etc. But top of the list would be boredom.


Do you think there’s enough support for older people to prevent against loneliness at this time?

Not at the moment no. The local authorities are a little bit slow off the mark there.


What more do you think they could do?

They’ve finally got around to sending letters out saying there’s help out there for those who need it, but there’s still no sign of it. They say they’re trying to map out who those in need are, and where, but surely they should have that information already.


What additional support do you think healthcare workers should receive to help in coming weeks?

For a start, in times like these, there should be more of them. And they should be better equipped to manage the work they do, and better educated to be able to inform patients or those they care for, especially older people, more about the virus and how they can defend themselves against it.