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National Pensioners Convention leader advises pensioners to self-isolate

written by Bella Palmer

People over 70 are in the vulnerable group and are at risk if they catch the Covid-19 coronavirus

Pensioners should self-isolate and not babysit their grandchildren if they can, says elderly group chairman.

People over 70 are in the vulnerable group and are therefore at risk if they catch the Covid-19 coronavirus. Pregnant women and those with pre-existing medical conditions are also in the vulnerable group.

The elderly have already been told to self-isolate and supermarkets such as Sainsbury's dedicated shopping hours for older people so they don't go without due panic buying.

But John Dowdle, the home counties north region chairman of the National Pensioners Convention which promotes the welfare of elderly people, has said what he thinks older people should do during this time to keep themselves safe.

After the Government's announcement on Wednesday (March 18) for schools to shut by Friday, he says mums and dads might expect to ask grandparents to take care of their children.

As part of self-isolation and social distancing, he thinks elderly people should avoid this as children could be carriers of the illness.

He said: There are going to be problems with the closure of schools as it is possible parents are going to be asking grandparents to look after their children and they could pass it onto their grandparents.

I think unfortunately babysitting needs to be given a miss and parents should find other arrangements, he said.

Mr Dowdle thinks panic buying has got out of hand and is a "waste of food and people's money". He advises elderly people to opt for smaller supermarkets to give them more a fighting chance.

The founder of elderly charity Small Acts of Kindness, Lynne Misner, has said elderly people might feel increasingly lonely as they are encouraged to stay indoors.

As a result, her charity is partnering with other organisations who come in contact with pensioners to increase the spread of their distribution.

She said: There are numbers of older people in our community who are isolated and lonely and restrictions will worsen that.

She said, one of the challenges as an organisations is: how do we find older people who do not reach out for help because they feel they're okay as they rely on family or friends to give support?

But with restrictions, they may no longer have that access and you wonder how they are going to cope. Not just household items, but how will they pay bills, if they have to go out and collect their pension and pay for electricity weekly? These are real worries, she said.

Despite the challenges, Ms Misner said she currently has 1,200 bags filled with blankets, socks and hot drinks to be delivered to elderly people to help them get through self-isolation.


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