THERE are fears that new coronavirus restrictions could mean care-home residents going without a visit for more than a year. The charity Age UK warns that the latest government guidance gives local public health bosses a de facto power to issue blanket bans on visiting, risking premature deaths due to lack of contact.
With nearly 30,000 extra care-home deaths between March 2 and June 12 compared with the same period last year – two-thirds of which, according to ONS figures, were attributable to the virus – Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said that while it was crucial to protect care-home residents from the risks of infection, the risk was of ‘undermining older people’s mental and physical health by cutting them off from those they love for a long time’. She said that during the lockdown ‘many care-home residents have gone downhill fast and a number have died prematurely without ever seeing their families and friends again’.
Having endangered the elderly with their initial insistence on care homes taking untested hospital patients, the Government now seem intent on endangering residents who have managed to escape Covid-19 and to survive the NHS’s sidelining of non-Covid illness. From blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ notices (DNRs) to blanket bans on visitors, it looks as if they will succeed in killing off even more old people by State-imposed loneliness.
A study from Finland suggests that elderly people walk 1mph faster than their compatriots did 30 years ago thanks to better nutrition, hygiene and improved healthcare. They will certainly need to move faster, not only to avoid a lonely and miserable Covid confinement, but – given the unrelenting campaign to legalise assisted suicide – to dodge the lethal injection. Indeed, ‘run, run, as fast as you can’ may be the best advice any old person could receive at the moment.