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A study by Age UK show that many older people are deeply afraid of COVID-19.
As a result, even though the number of COVID cases reduced over the summer, a significant proportion of older people still stayed at or close to home.
The study said that staying at home can lead to other serious problems: for example, loss of function - mobility and balance especially as a result of moving around less; pain from untreated medical conditions that will often have got worse these last few months; and the psychological impact of living with so much stress, uncertainty and isolation, leading to increased loneliness among other problems.
The study also said that, sadly, taken together these findings paint a picture of a substantial group of older people who have been left frightened, depressed and very much alone. Some said they could no longer take pleasure in the things they used to love, and with no end yet in sight to the pandemic they found it hard to have hope for the future.
Others were acutely conscious that time is not on their side. When life returns to some normality they thought it might be too late for them, especially those with serious health conditions.
Age UK said that older people are typically extremely resilient and self-sufficient but COVID-19 and policy responses to it pose them with unique challenges.
They feel that the study is a wake-up call for us all. Older people, those on their own especially, are going to need our help more than ever this winter to help them get through. But it is also a call
to action for policy makers too. Ministers need to resist the ageist siren calls to shut older people away.
And an article in the publication Nature concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on the wellbeing, activity level and sleep quality of older adults.
All changes reported during the COVID-19 period were strongly related to depression.
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