Often characterised as a condition that only affects the elderly, today many more of us may be experiencing loneliness, an effect of the social distancing and self-isolation measures imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the age profile of those affected by loneliness has changed as a result of the Covid pandemic, the elderly, a sector often less able to address loneliness than younger age groups, appear to have suffered significantly more than prior to the pandemic. The full consequences of the lockdown on the elderly have yet to be fully established, but already the Elder Survey on Elder Loneliness (2020) has reported that 35% of elderly people felt more lonely as a result of the lockdown, with 20% of over 70s having contact with family or friends less than once a fortnight.
While elderly people living alone report feeling fearful, people living with others can also feel lonely. It is also becoming apparent that the consequences of the restrictions imposed over the last year have exacerbated pre-existing conditions among the elderly population and may have led to an increase in the speed at which they lost their confidence and skills.
Many of us affected by lockdown will have resorted to technology to stay ‘connected’ with family and friends, but speaking over a video call is often not a viable option for an elderly or vulnerable person. The Marmalade Trust’s website contains several resources to help us understand loneliness and support somebody who is experiencing it.
As restrictions are relaxed, it should become easier for those elderly people who have them to re-connect with family, friends and support networks, easing feelings of loneliness in the process. Throughout the coronavirus restrictions, Morton Fraser’s Later Life team has kept in touch with clients by telephone and are now looking forward to being able to recommence visits too.
Morton Fraser’s Later Life team offer not just legal advice but also practical support to elderly and vulnerable people and their families. We have significant experience of running finances for elderly people and, when restrictions allow, can visit them on a regular basis to ensure they are being well cared for and have what they need. We can arrange a wide range of practical things from new nightclothes to befrienders with similar interests to the elderly person, and advise on and assist with a house move or move into care.