The Impact of Covid Restrictions on Adults in Later Life

One in five adults in later life (approximately 2.3 million nationally, 23,500 in Bucks and MK) or 18% say they feel less steady on their feet than before the pandemic.

Leap is working to address this by ensuring we have a range of fun, safe, appropriate and accessible activities. These sessions will support adults in later life to rebuild their strength, balance and emotional resilience.

Are you an instructor, coach, PT, club or leisure centre who want to be part of the recovery movement to help adults in later life take part in low to moderate intensity activities? Read on!

The last year has been hard for everyone, whether you’re a parent of young children like me whose mental health has been tested as I try to stop my son performing a WWE wrestling move on his younger brothers, whilst I attempt to lead an MS Teams call or you’ve lost household income due to the restrictions put in place to curb transmission. There aren’t many people who haven’t been effected negatively by the pandemic but there are clearly some communities and age groups who have been impacted most.

One of the groups who’ve been impacted the most are adults in later life or adults living with a long term condition, I have witnessed this first hand with family members close to me. My 94 year old Nan who started 2020 in her own sheltered housing with limited care and support, who is now in a care home unable to walk after multiple falls and fractures which is attributed to reduced daily movement, loss of strength and balance and social contact. My 87 year old Grandad who lives on his own and is digitally isolated has declined both physically and cognitively during the pandemic. The decline cognitively is most stark and again can be attributed to loss of daily activity, routine and very limited social contact and stimulation as a result of restrictions.

I have spoken to many people over recent month who have sadly shared similar personal and professional experiences. The Age UK national impact of Covid survey backs this up by highlighting the following;

  • Over a quarter (3.2 million) or 26% can’t walk as far as they used to,
  • 1 in 5 (2.4 million) or 20% are finding it harder to remember things,
  • 1 in 5 (2.3 million) or 18% say they feel less steady on their feet,

 

The population of over 65s in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes is approximately 130,000 which could mean we have 33,800 who cannot walk as far, 26,000 could be finding it harder to remember things and 23,400 are less steady on their feet. The true scale of the physical and cognitive deconditioning and frailty is not yet known but the above are conservative estimates and the implications on the health and social care system across the areas will be significant.

The good news is that Leap is leading a collaboration (Live Longer Better Alliance) between the CVSE and statutory health partners to address this through a multi intervention approach including the distribution of
home well-being packs and the roll out of the Active Medicine: Helping people to become active online workshops.

As restrictions ease and indoor group activity returns, the next phase is to make sure we have a range of fun, safe and suitable community activity that supports adults in later life to build up their strength and balance and emotional resilience over the summer months. Therefore, we want to hear from instructors, coaches, PTs, clubs and leisure centres who want to be part of the recovery movement to engage adults in later life in low to moderate intensity activities.

Please get in touch with my colleague Shay Fenlon (sfenlon@leapwithus.org.uk) and together we can help to improve lives of adults in later life who have been most affected by Covid-19 across Bucks & MK.

Thanks for reading,

Chris

 

If you want more food for thought, please read Shay’s blog Being wise rather than smart might help your club, group organisation recover from the Covid-19 pandemic