Shortly after COVID arrived, demands were made to use it as the opportunity to do things differently, just as cholera epidemics of the nineteenth century led to clean water supplies and sewage systems. This is summarised as ‘Build Back Better’ — the wake-up call that COVID exacerbated problems, requiring us to come together and plan to improves people’s lives and prosperity.
Before breakfast on Sunday 1st November we learnt that the new funding deal for Transport for London (TfL) did not include cuts or additional restrictions on older Londoners’ travel concessions (primarily the Older Persons’ Freedom Pass and the 60+ Oyster card). The previous 48-hours had been a time of anxious waiting.
The fall in the proportion of older people living in poverty has been one of the great public policy success stories of recent decades. In the mid 90s, it was fairly common to see press stories of older people eking out pensions, huddled under blankets unable to afford fuel, or living on cheap, poorly
Did you know that London has the worst ‘pensioner poverty’ rate in the country and that poverty among older Londoners is rising?
With Winter approaching, and sadly the coronavirus still with us, we are again raising our concerns about the health risks of living in a cold home, particularly for older people who are likely to be spending most of their time at home.
I suspect that, like many others aged over 50, COVID-19 has created its own unique challenges, especially around work. The latest statistics regarding unemployment and the over 50s are shocking with the Centre for Ageing Better and the Learning and Work Institute speculating “that one in 10 male, and eight in 10 female workers in their 50s and 60s face a significant risk of losing their jobs as the furlough scheme is wound down, as they are employed in “shutdown sectors” hardest hit by the 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.
As the lockdown progressively eases, it is important to remember that vulnerable people are still requiring our support and will continue to do so when we adapt to ‘the new normal’. Su Elliott, Membership Secretary of Wandsworth Older Peoples’ Forum, has been regularly checking up on its members throughout this lockdown. You can find below her latest report.
Being less likely to know neighbours who can support you; not having a garden to exercise in, self-isolating in poor conditions and anxiety about when repairs can be made. These are just some of the challenges facing thousands of older private renters in London during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a retired consultant after 30 years at Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, I am fit and well and looking forward to my 77th birthday in May. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic two friends and I have been forced to postpone completion of our 118-mile walk from the Wye to the Thames.