Supporting elderly crucial to post-pandemic resilience

The Centre for Ageing Better has set out proposals for national and local government to build resilience in the wake of the pandemic, stressing the need for stronger action to support those in their 50s and 60s.

Those aged 50-70 face serious risks to their health and their financial security as a result of the pandemic, and, according to the charity, risk falling through the cracks in the response. However, actions taken to support this group, they say, will also benefit society as a whole.  

The report, Learning from lockdown: Priorities for the future, sets out actions for national and local government to learn the lessons of the pandemic and build on the positives that have emerged during the lockdown. Supporting over 50s back to work, building health resilience in the population, investing in community infrastructure and tackling poor housing are among the recommendations. The Centre for Ageing Better is also calling for action from other sectors including employers, housebuilders and the fitness industry to support the recovery.  

Recent research found that one in five in the 50-70 age group had seen their health decline, and over half had had a medical or dental appointment cancelled, with the Centre for Ageing Better and the Learning and Work Institute warning of the risk of a surge in long-term unemployment among the over 50s, with the number of older workers on unemployment benefits doubling as a result of the pandemic.  

Anna Dixon, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “The response to the coronavirus crisis from our communities has been incredible, and the government has taken some strong steps to support people and the economy. But in the months and years ahead, much more needs to be done to build resilience and protect against future shocks.

“In particular, we need to see action to support those in their 50s and 60s, who we know have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many have seen their physical and mental health suffer, and there are real risks to people’s financial security. We need to quickly build on the work that has started in a number of areas. That means targeted support to help over 50s back to work, a much stronger focus on improving people’s health, investment in the community infrastructure that has been so vital in this crisis, and action to tackle the poor quality of too many homes in this country.”