Lockdown still impacting the elderly, finds Age UK

During the Covid Inquiry Module Two, Age UK expressed how the pandemic had impacted older people, with many still afraid to leave their homes.

Age UK, reaches approximately one million elderly people every year and aims to ensure that they are supported whether that be financially, maintaining social connections, and/or receiving suitable care.

Speaking during the Covid Inquiry, Age UK explained how the pandemic had taken a toll on the mental health of the elderly, with older people feeling afraid to leave their homes or take public transport. This is still having an impact two years post restrictions ending.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Age UK provided a statement in response during Module 1 of the Covid Inquiry, as part of the request for Evidence, and said:

“lockdowns and shielding policy had a disproportionate impact on older people’s
physical and mental health, with many older people reporting anxiety and depression, loss of mobility (balance and falls), deconditioning through reduced physical activity and an increase in social isolation and loneliness.”

When the second module of the Covid Inquiry was opened in October, Age UK stated that lockdown had impacted the elderly by causing “much higher rates of depression and self-harming and suicide”.

Caroline Abrahams, Director of Age UK, told the inquiry:

“We’ve had to provide new training for some of our helpline staff on how to cope with people who are waking up in great distress – and that only happened during and after the pandemic.

It has undoubtedly exacted a toll on many older people.”

Caroline subsequently added that many had suffered a “great loss of confidence, coupled with the fact that if you stay still, you don’t move around as much”. She commented:

“As an older person you stiffen up, your muscles tend to waste and then it’s physically very, very difficult to be able to get around.”

Age UK have found that for many impacted in this way it is now too late.  The duration of the pandemic created a change in lifestyle which seems here to stay, and older people are unable to return to how things were before.

Caroline added:

“So yes, I’m afraid there are many older people who lead much, much more constrained lives now than before the pandemic.”


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