Deborah Alsina, the Chief Executive of Independent Age said : “For people who told us loneliness was not just a product of lockdowns and shielding, but a symptom of their every day life before the pandemic, the easing of restrictions is not a silver bullet”.“The extremely damaging side-effects of lockdown – long periods of isolation, a loss of routine and social interaction – have caused significant mental health as well as physical health deterioration for people with dementia, many of them just ‘giving up’ on life, fading away. Many people we’ve spoken to are concerned that their isolation and loneliness will continue as restrictions ease because the support services they used previously have either shut down or are yet to be reinstated”.
A further survey by 'Age UK' found that, compared with before the pandemic, one in three respondents said they had 'less energy', one in four were 'unable to walk as far' as before, and one in five felt 'less steady on their feet'. In addition, one in five found it 'harder to remember things' and more than one in four felt 'less confident about spending time with family'. Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director said : “This pandemic has hit the fast-forward button on ageing for millions of older people. According to our research, as many as a third of all older people really are struggling”.“I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve heard older people tell us that they don’t want to live any more because they feel so invisible and alone. As we move into this new recovery and reintegration phase, 66% of our scheme members say they don’t yet feel ready to leave the four walls of their homes and 70% report a decline in their physical health acting as a barrier to getting out and about”.“Volunteers report that many of the senior citizens they speak to are now too afraid to go back out into their towns and villages, as they are genuinely afraid to mix again in public. They have huge anxiety about this despite government guidelines changing”.