Ageing expert calls for a National Covid-19 Resilience Programme for older people

Professor in Ageing and Health Dawn Skelton is part of an expert panel behind a report calling on the government to look into the physical and psychological effects of lockdown on older people.

The report – ‘A National Covid-19 Resilience Programme’ – was produced by The Physiological Society and the Centre for Ageing Better. It has been published online here and shared with the UK Parliament at a Parliamentary Committee.

The report calls for the government to consider the potential physical and mental health effects of lockdown on older people and explains the physiological reasons why older people being less active and less socially engaged will have a huge negative effect on health but also on healthcare resources with an increase in falls, depression and loneliness.

It urges UK public health agencies to launch a National Covid-19 Resilience Programme to support older people through the pandemic and to keep them healthy over the winter.

Key recommendations include encouraging appropriate exercise and physical activity; supporting optimal nutrition; enhance mental health and wellbeing; and supporting behaviour change to embed these behaviours.

It also recommended televised physical activity opportunities, paper-based programmes and Make Movement Your Mission classes for those on Facebook or who can access You Tube.

Last month Professor Skelton, Chair of the British Geriatric Rehabilitation Group, was one of 19 British Geriatric Society (BGS) officers and key members to write to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to announce ongoing funding for discharge services in his forthcoming comprehensive spending review (CSR).

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