Age Action welcomes relaxation of some cocooning measures but criticises lack of consultation with older people.
(1 May) Age Action called for the Government to consult with older people as it plans for the longer-term impacts of Covid-19. To date, public health and Government advice has treated the over 70 age cohort as one. As a single age cohort people over the age of 70 have been subject to public health measures but not enabled to participate in the decision-making process that would ensure that their lived experience and their self-identified needs informs the outcome.
Criticising the lack of meaningful consultation with older people and civil society organisations working with older people since the start of the pandemic, CEO of Age Action Paddy Connolly said, ‘while we welcome that the Government has listened to one of our concerns in regard to the challenges of cocooning, which was exercise outside the home, it is unacceptable to older people that throughout this crisis they have been talked about, but not to. As the Government plans now for a future with Covid-19 it is critical that they engage with wider civil society actors, in particular older people’s organisations, and develop mechanisms to hear the views of older people.
‘We have to remember it is older people and those with underlying conditions that are at risk from a wider societal relaxing of the restrictions, how they are supported, engaged with and listened to should be a priority for the next phase’ said Connolly.
Appealing to the wider population to respect social distancing in the current phase of Covid-19 restrictions announced on 1 May, Paddy Connolly said ‘People over the age of 70 need the rest of us to avoid contact with them when they choose to take a walk outside their own homes. We need to show intergenerational solidarity by giving them the space they need to stay safe.’