We will all have our own memories of the start of this crisis. For me the most vivid was actually not one of the more negative ones. It wasn’t the anxiety I felt, like everyone else, as I grabbed as much office equipment as I could and headed home on the train fearing the worst.
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
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.
Although coronavirus is currently dominating the headlines, the flu virus is currently a far bigger risk to the health of older people across London and the country as a whole. With spring on the horizon, it might seem odd that the team here at Age UK London are continuing to shout about the flu vaccine, but flu season can last as late as April, so it really is never too late to get your flu jab!
“I’m a walking enthusiast who loves getting outdoors and exploring the capital’s hidden gems, parks, woodlands, gardens, bridges, landmarks and sights! Since I started my blog in 2016 I’ve done over 30 walks of London, which have seen me stroll from North and South London to East and West London via Central London where I’ve not only discovered the touristy and well-known areas, but a variety of little treasures and places you don’t normally visit!”
For this week’s blog we hear from Stu, who tells us his ten favourite park walks – all discovered while writing the London Wlogger Blog. Why not try one out this weekend?
“In a similar vein, an active set of grand-parents who had childcare responsibilities three-times a week found that their only conversation with their stressed-out daughter was a speedily downloaded situation report as she collected her children at the end of the day. All of them believed they were seeing a lot of each other, but they were not having any valued time together. The answer? A regular date at the carvery for Sunday lunch once a month so all three generations could relax together and no-one had to cook.”
This week’s blog comes from Claire Gillman, a journalist and author of the book We Are The Sandwich Generation: Keeping Everyone Happy. Claire suggests some of the ways that “sandwich carers” can bring all the generations of their family together to spend some quality time.
“For most people, walking is the easiest way to meet physical activity recommendations, as it is a free and low impact activity which is easy to start slowly and build up gradually. It’s also one of the easiest activities to fit into your everyday life, not least because you don’t need to concentrate on the walking itself, leaving you free to enjoy your surroundings, chat to friends and family or just relax.For most people, walking is the easiest way to meet physical activity recommendations, as it is a free and low impact activity which is easy to start slowly and build up gradually. It’s also one of the easiest activities to fit into your everyday life, not least because you don’t need to concentrate on the walking itself, leaving you free to enjoy your surroundings, chat to friends and family or just relax.”
Find out how Age UK London’s new Park Walks campaign will be helping older Londoners to get out and about in London’s green spaces!