letters from lockdown

Letters from Lockdown

The current pandemic has revealed some of the deepest inequalities that have often remained hidden in our society. Ageing Better in Camden’s members have been writing a weekly newsletter for one another throughout lockdown, as a way to keep informed in these challenging times. This series of letters is a great way of discovering first-hand experiences of older people in Camden during the Covid-19 crisis. From learning new digital skills to organising wartime letters, you will find something to relate to.

Here, Kate Harwood shares her experiences.

‘Dear friends,

How many weeks has it been now?! I don’t know about you but I’ve given up counting but not quite given up hope that there will be an end to this strange new way of life. I really miss seeing you all face to face.

I’m not sure anyone can predict or plan and this government are particularly bad at this, but we have to hope.

Whilst I really miss feeling free to go out and meet people, to have a coffee in a local cafe, to go on a bus or train, this lockdown time has meant that I have learned some new digital skills. I suppose I have always assumed that this was for young folk, for my grandchildren etc. I haven’t yet learned all the terms and computer speak but have realised that many younger people are happy to explain as many times and as slowly as possible. They are really understanding.

I have realised that many younger people are happy to explain as many times and as slowly as possible. They are really understanding.

I participate in two choirs on Zoom and younger members are tutoring us in how to use this way of communicating and patiently advise us when we panic or when things go wrong. They don’t always know but have made me feel more skilled.

It’s bad that I am assuming that everyone knows what Zoom is. It is not like our meetings but in some ways it is. It is a platform for groups to get together digitally. So, yes, you need a computer, tablet or smart phone and I know that not all of us do have. But for those of us that can, it’s a great way to meet and see each other.

For a while Zoom took over my life! I was doing two singing sessions, three or four North London Care sessions and some meetings. I temporarily lost the strength in my right arm with sciatica of the neck from incorrect posture when Zooming! All ok now.

Since then I’ve reduced the number I do and missed a few reluctantly.

I was asked by North London Cares to run an art and craft Zoom session. I said yes and then got the collywobbles! I spent a few days preparing and didn’t sleep the night before but apparently it went quite well. In the previous Zooms I had seen the interior of most people’s homes, but being a bit curious, I asked everyone to spend 20 minutes drawing the view from their window. Now I know more or less where some people live.

I’ve just been in a 2 1/2 hour training Zoom for UCL trainee clinical psychologists…..a marathon but from their responses I think they learned a little more about dementia and caring.

I’ve just got the link for tomorrow’s OPAG Zoom so am looking forward to seeing as many of our members as can make it.

So yes I am missing my ‘normal’ life, missing family and friends but am feeling a little more technologically savvy …..just a little but looking forward to learning more.

I hope that you are all finding something positive about our new way of living and that we are able to meet together for real in the near future,

Love and best wishes,


Discover and read more letters on Ageing Better in Camden’s website here.

Age UK London

Age UK London is the new name for Age Concern London. We act as the collective voice of London's Age UKs and Age Concerns, working to improve the quality of life and enhance the status and influence of older people in the capital.

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