Coronavirus both frightens and unites us all, and the weeks ahead are going to be challenging. Starting this week, we want to share with you, our friends and supporters, what we’ve been doing in response and how we can all help.

With older people at the heart of everything we do, right now this means encouraging you, to do what you can for older people. We will also be updating our website regularly with links to the best sources of information on what’s happening across the country that we can all share:

Neighbourhood response
Our volunteers have stopped face to face visits to avoid spreading the virus but we remain 100% committed to combatting social isolation. This is why we’re encouraging all our volunteers to make telephone calls to keep in touch. These calls are just one way to keep people connected and there’s a growing grassroots movement of local volunteers stepping up to support. We’ve shared the best local initiatives on our website.

It’s also important to consider that whilst staying in touch by telephone will be the easiest and most accessible way to keep in contact for many, technology can bring family and friends closer. If you’re prepared to lend a little help and support for older neighbours to install and use apps, The Campaign to End Loneliness, which is co-funded and hosted by Independent Age, has shared some useful ideas on their website.

Information and advice
We can all help to reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus to other people. If you are worried you may have symptoms, please follow the current NHS public health guidance. There is also plenty of information if you’re worried about a family member, friend or neighbour. We’ve pulled together an FAQ page on our website which will be updated regularly, as the situation develops. 

For those who rely on our Friendship Services, we’ll be calling to make sure they can get basic supplies or the medication they need. 

Giving older people a voice
With the government introducing new policies and processes to cope with the impact of coronavirus, we’re working hard to make sure that politicians understand the key issues affecting the over 65s. Our thanks to every one of the 2,000 people who have shared their thoughts in our survey, letting us know how coronavirus has impacted their life:

  • 62% feel anxious or worried about the impact that coronavirus could have on their life
  • 38% have had contact with family and friends negatively impacted by coronavirus
  • 89% have been getting their information on coronavirus from the media
  • 45% have read about, or been on the receiving end of, negative language about older people concerning coronavirus
  • 45% have found themselves unable to buy food or household items as a result of stock levels

If you’d like to add your voice, please complete our short survey. We will use the final results to ensure that your views are heard by the government.

Keeping in touch
With the situation changing rapidly, we’re keen to hear from you on what’s helping the most to combat this virus and keep us all connected. Just drop us a note to supporters@independentage.org and we’ll share the best ideas.

To end what has been an extraordinary week where not all the information about coronavirus in the media is trustworthy, we’d like to use this weekly email to keep you up to date with our latest news, plus guidance and advice from government, charities and experts on how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak, and let you know where there are opportunities to get involved.

Thank you so much for your support where now, more than ever, we must double our efforts to work together and help those who need us most. 

Wishing you all the best, 

Deborah Alsina MBE
Chief Executive 
Independent Age 

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