The COVID-19 outbreak has exposed the ugly truth about our attitudes to older people

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

Caring about older people

Many people, of course, aren’t as vile or callous about older people. But they can still be dismissive, or implicitly value their lives less. It’s a problem I encountered regularly when working for charities supporting and advocating on issues that predominantly affected older people, including end of life care and dementia. Dementia costs the UK at least twice as much as cancer, yet research for the latter has received about seven times as much investment. Advocating on issues that disproportionately affect older people is always a challenge when people instinctively care much more about Great Ormond Street Hospital or the Teenage Cancer Trust. (Both of which of course do vital work).

What COVID-19 means for older people

That’s why I’m quite concerned about the implications of asking older people to self-isolate for up to four months, as the government seems to be on the cusp of doing. While it may well be necessary (I’m not going to claim to be a public health expert), it will nonetheless have real implications for many people.



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Andrew Grey

Andrew Grey

Working in the not-for-profit sector on healthcare issues, and teaching religion and philosophy part time at City Lit.