COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – UPDATE 2

Dear Voting Member

As the Coronavirus pandemic increases in the UK and we learn more about it and how to cope with the impacts it is having on our lives, the more there is a need for good communications to keep everyone well informed. This update will therefore give you just the key points from the meeting with the Commissioner for Older People that COPA and the other national older people’s organisation had on April 2nd.

Rights of Older People

We discussed the statement Helena issued with other UK leaders https://www.olderpeoplewales.com/en/news/news/20-03-30/The_rights_of_older_people_in_the_UK_to_treatment_during_this_pandemic.aspx which was issued in each country of the UK and the follow up action being taken. This includes:

Helena had a discussion with Welsh Ministers, Julie Morgan and Jane Hutt who fully support what is said. They have taken it to the Welsh Government Cabinet;

A meeting with the other UK Organisations tomorrow to agree an action plan

Scrutiny of what is happening as a result

Further updates will be sent to COPA and others

Isolation and Loneliness

Isolation and loneliness of older people living on their own and not on the internet was an important issue discussed. There are a range of possible sources of help during the day time e.g. Age Cymru https://www.ageuk.org.uk/cymru/information-advice/age-cymru-advice/check-in-and-chat/ and Women’s Institute https://www.thewi.org.uk/about-us. However, there is a gap in support at night ‘after dark when the curtains are closed’ and in particular when older people on their own might worry or become concerned about their situation. Options to address this would be considered by the Commissioner with Age Cymru and further discussions held with COPA and others.

Communications

The range of questions raised by COPA Trustees and Voting Members before the meeting will be answered as part of a refresh of the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Coronavirus Hub. Visit the site next week to see the update.

https://www.olderpeoplewales.com/en/coronavirus.aspx

You will have had a separate message about the Facebook Community that the Commissioner has set up with details about how to join. This will only be useful if we all participate and contribute information, questions, ideas etc https://www.facebook.com/groups/254945818851026/

For those older people not on line, Helena is working with other organisations as part of the Digital Exclusion Alliance to address this problem collectively. We know this is a problem for some our Forum members and how the cost of postage can be a barrier to sending our hard copies of information. This is an issue for all of us. Any ideas or solutions are welcome. In the meantime, the Commissioner has a number where you can leave a message 03442 640 670 and you will get a reply.

Welsh Government are keen to open up communications and a network is being established with the Commissioner and older people’s organisations. We will be sent key messages and we will pass those on to you.

Further weekly meetings with the Commissioner will be held and we will keep you informed. If you have any comments, ideas or questions do let us have them

Keep safe

Steve Milsom,

Chair,