Agenda item

Rotherham's Older People and the impact of COVID-19

Presentation by Lesley Dabell, Barbara Booton and Iain Cloke, Age UK Rotherham


The Board received the following presentation by David Vickers, Chair of the Rotherham Older People’s Forum, and Iain Cloke and Lesley Dabell, Age UK Rotherham:-


Why is this important?

-        Everyone has been affected by the impact of Covid-19

-        Some have been affected more than others

-        Older people have been disproportionately affected

-        It was time for change – a moment to focus on what matters the most

-        We want older people and the whole community to have the best possible recovery they could have : “Age Friendly”

-        As part of this, need to involve older people and support them to have the best possible recovery

-        Important to listen to what older people were saying and involve them in finding the solutions needed

-        Working together on a ‘Year of Reconditioning’


Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted older people

-        Almost 1.8M people over the age of 50 had been advised to shield* whilst everyone over the age of 70 had been advised to take extra precautions

-        28% of people 50-69 and 24% of people 70+ said their exercise routine was being affected**

-        26% of people 50-69 and 33% of over 70s said their access to non-Covid related healthcare was being affected

-        42% of adults aged 70+ were reporting high levels of anxiety

*NHS Digital Shielded Patient List Data Access on 19th January 2021

**ONS Data Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain published 15th January


Physical Health

-        “I seem to have become less able in many ways.  I think the less you use it the more you lose it”


Physical deconditioning

-        Older people were finding it harder to walk and were more reliant on aids

-        They were also finding every day activities around the house harder to complete

-        Reductions in mobility were having a knock-on effect on older people’s weight, mood and energy

-        Some older people had said they were falling more frequently than before


Mental Health

-        “I just feel so scared to go out, my depression has a knock on effect on my pain, not being able to go outside means my mind keeps going round in circles making me more depressed, no conversations, no laughter, in debt and overweight from takeaways.  I feel unloved and unwanted” (females 55-59)


Seeing through the eyes of older people in Rotherham

-        What were older people in Rotherham saying about their journey through Covid-19?


Positive outcomes during Covid-19

-        Digital inclusion

-        Wisdom of age leads to resilience

-        Older people were carers too

-        Supporting each other informally and through volunteering


What were the best things you had done or were doing to help get through the crisis?

-        Sticking to a routine

-        Staying in touch with others

-        Being active

-        Creativity in later life

-        Mindfulness

-        Helping others


How are you coping with the impact of Covid-19

-        2/3 said they were coping okay

-        1/3 were not coping

-        A few were really struggling


Our needs in later life

-        Self-actualisation – desire to become the most that one can be

-        Esteem – respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom

-        Love and belonging – friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection

-        Safety needs – personal security, employment, resources, health, property

-        Physiological needs – air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, reproduction


What were the best things other people or organisations had done or were doing to help you?

-        Mostly not services

-        Practical help from family and neighbours

-        Local people, organisations, churches, other faith groups and community hubs

-        Health Services


Thinking about “the next 6 months” what are you not able to manage?  What feels impossible to deal with?

-        Separation from family and friends

-        The unrelenting demands on unpaid family carers

-        Anxiety, worry about the world

-        Solitary grief

-        Coping with loss - of all kinds


Summary – Covid has affected everybody but how well you have weathered the storm depends on ‘the boat’ you were in

-        Seize the money

-        Person-centred tailored solutions

-        Celebrate wisdom of age

-        Prevent, recover, recondition

-        Building on resilience of age

-        Whole community

-        Enable not care

-        Informal not formal

-        Support not services

-        Positive thinking

-        People actively involved

-        Recover and develop assets

-        Beware unintended outcomes

-        Create the environment to encourage people to create solutions


How must we continue and develop our support for older people so they can make the best possible recovery from the impact of Covid-19

-        How will it happen?

-        Where will the conversations happen?

-        Who are the right people to involve?

-        Where will the actions be planned?

-        Who will make sure they are implemented?

-        How will they be monitored and evaluated?

-        What already works?

-        What is the structure for partnership?

-        Where are the resources?


It was noted that Ian Spicer, Assistant Director, Adult Care and Integration, and the Chair was to meet with Lesley and her team in March to discuss this issue further.


Should any Board member have any questions, they should email either Ian or the Chair and they would be raised in the meeting with Age UK Rotherham.


Lesley, David and Iain were thanked for their presentation.

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