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Your Later Life 2021

We must work harder to ensure no older people are left behind

Image provided by - Age International

Annabel Hibbert

Governance & Communications Officer at Age International

As the pandemic rages on around the globe, the poorest and most marginalised older people still need our help


COVID-19 has affected older people around the world, but especially those already living in fragile circumstances. In a global crisis, often the poorest and most disadvantaged older people are forgotten. Whilst the UK is getting closer to its goal of vaccinating the population, India is unlikely to be the last country we see struggling to cope with a devastating second wave and a shortage of vaccines.  

Providing factual information and guidance  

Since the global pandemic was announced in March 2020, Age International has helped to protect older people in over 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Often older people end up relying on hearsay about the pandemic, particularly if they can’t read, see, or hear well, or if information is only distributed from a central location or via digital means. We have reached over 1.2 million older people with clear, factual information on COVID-19 and how best to protect themselves.  

Lockdowns accelerating hardship  

In some countries, lacking pensions or other forms of social welfare, the lockdowns have hindered many from earning money to feed themselves and their families. Lockdowns intended to prevent the spread of the virus in fact marked a period of isolation, loneliness, and severe hardship for many older people.  

We’ve been providing practical support to thousands of older people to not only help them prevent the virus spreading but to help them survive these periods of deprivation, from delivering clean water and food parcels to distributing hygiene kits of soap and personal protective equipment and providing home care visits and emotional support.  

Lockdowns marked a period of isolation, loneliness, and severe hardship for many older people.

Supporting health systems

Health systems in many places are already weak or over-stretched, so rising infection rates can threaten to overwhelm them. With India struggling to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases, we stepped up our response to provide life-saving medical equipment for hospitals and health teams, including desperately needed oxygen concentrators. We reached out to older people in rural and deprived areas to help them access health services and vaccinations.  

With many countries still lacking access to vaccines, the pandemic will continue to spread around the globe. We must continue to help the most vulnerable including older people and ensure they get the help they need so we can all one day be safe. 

You can make a donation to Age International’s Coronavirus Appeal now via our website or by calling 0800 032 0699. 

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How specialist dementia support can aid care

Caroline Baker

Director of Dementia Care, Barchester Healthcare

Moving into a care home can be a challenging time for those living with dementia, but having specialist dementia caregivers and supportive communities can help ease the transition.  


At the very heart of our dementia ethos is the belief that we see the person and not the condition. With every new resident that comes to live in our communities, we take the time to get to know that person and their loved ones so that we can develop an in-depth knowledge of who they are, who and what is important to them and understand the life they have led. 

Specialist dementia environments  

We recognise that moving into a care home can be a distressing time for somebody living with dementia as they are moving into a new environment and our staff are skilled at managing the settling in time, to alleviate anxiety and make them feel as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible.  

Our homes all have clear signage, colours and themes within the corridors of the memory lane communities, as we understand the important role this can play in helping the residents to find their way around the home more easily.  

It is also really important to us that we focus on nutrition and ensure that our residents are able to continue to eat and drink the things that they like. Assistance is provided to help them to do this through the use of skilled staff, specialist crockery and cutlery (if that is required) and a choice of dining settings to accommodate their individual needs. 

We have also found robotic pets to be a real hit as many of our residents had either a cat or a dog at home.

Understanding dementia care needs  

Our staff at Barchester are extremely knowledgeable in dementia care and provide daily activities that are suitable to the individual’s needs and we are constantly looking at new technology that can support this. We have introduced magic tables into a lot of our homes, these are interactive light projectors designed to promote stimulation through specialised games.  

They support increased physical and social interactions for residents and most of all, offer the opportunity to have fun, which has proved to be a real success as family and friends have also been able to participate in this along with the resident. We have also found robotic pets to be a real hit as many of our residents had either a cat or a dog at home and we have seen so much joy when residents are interacting with them.  

Barchester Healthcare’s specialist dementia team are working with Leeds Beckett University’s Centre for Dementia Research. Their findings are being implemented in Barchester’s Memory Lane communities.  

To find a Barchester home near you go to www.barchester.com 

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