For the hundreds of thousands of older people living in Scotland alone, Age Scotland has called Nicola Sturgeon’s latest announcement of a national lockout a “bitter pill to swallow”
The Scottish mainland will be sealed off again, and schools will have to remain closed across the country. Nicola Sturgeon reported that this is one of the “devastating” restrictions being implemented in an effort to tackle the new, faster-spreading Covid 19 strain.
The First Minister emphasized the need to act “quickly and decisively” because, without the implementation of new steps, hospitals may not be able to treat coronavirus patients within three to four weeks.
She has confirmed that for the entire month of January, a legally enforceable stay-at-home order will be in effect in all areas currently under Level 4 restrictions – mainland Scotland and Skye.
Only for a “essential purpose,” such as urgent shopping, caring for others or if they are part of an extended household, would people be allowed to leave their homes.
Recognizing the need for renewed initiatives similar to those in March last year, the charity, which serves older people in Scotland, emphasized how difficult it will be for many who will now experience prolonged loneliness without face-to-face interaction with family or friends.
Adam Stachura, head of policy and communications for Age Scotland, said, “These measures are undoubtedly needed to address the rapid spread of the virus.”
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“However, this return to a nationwide lockdown, similar to last March, will be a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the hundreds of thousands of older people who live alone.”
He added: “This is obviously not a decision made lightly.”
We have seen the toll this virus has already taken on the elderly population of Scotland and although the continuation of the introduction of the vaccine provides some reassurance, a cause for concern is the latest variant that spreads more easily and makes these new steps necessary.
And the charity has renewed its appeal for communities across Scotland to reach out to help those who are likely to suffer from depression and other effects on their mental and physical health and who may be most impacted by the lockdown.
“We saw an incredible outpouring of support at the beginning of the pandemic, with people volunteering across the country to help deliver food, pick up prescriptions, or just make a friendly phone call or have a conversation at the front door,” Mr. Stachura said. With screening instructions anticipated shortly, many older people will need help getting groceries and other essentials once again.
We hope to see this mutual support continue and encourage individuals to search after elderly friends, neighbors and relatives they know may be impacted by this advice.
In October, in the event of another lockdown, Age Scotland called for the Scottish Government to create a winter action plan to help older citizens, which would prove especially significant.
Now Mr. Stachura has said that it is “vital” for the Scottish government to ensure that a full range of assistance is made available to those who need assistance in obtaining food, medical care and medications.
Friendly Christmas cards have brought festive cheer to residents of home care.
He added that during the last nursing home closure in March, there were “significant challenges” for older individuals, and they “must not face the same difficulties this time.”
“We want older people to know that we are here for them,” he said. Our free helpline provides anyone who wants it with advice, knowledge and friendship. Don’t hesitate, please, to call us on 0800 12 44 222.
“As we re-enter a state of national lockdown, older people need to know they don’t have to go through this difficult time alone.”