Older people struggling to get food amid coronavirus pandemic

Older people are struggling to get food. Pictures: ARCHANT

Older people are struggling to get food. Pictures: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Almost two thirds of older people are struggling to get enough food to meet their daily needs during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests.

The charity Independent Age said 64pc of 489 adults over the age of 65 were unable to buy enough food, while 60pc struggled to get household supplies.

The poll, carried out by Opinium between March 20 and 24, also found that 58pc reported struggling to purchase enough toilet paper, while nearly a third (31pc) had difficulty getting medicine and healthcare supplies.

Around 29pc of those struggling to get supplies said they were having difficulties getting basic toiletries such as soap and shampoo.

Supermarkets are limiting the number of customers allowed into their stores at any one time in a bid to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed.

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Tape on the floor to mark appropriate distances between people, restrictions on certain items and protective screens around check-outs are now normal.

Last week, there were scenes of shoppers queuing outside many of Norfolk’s supermarkets as early as 6am in the morning, reports of panic-buying and empty shelves across the county.

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Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, said: “Older people, particularly those aged over 70, are at higher risk from Covid-19, so the levels of anxiety being experienced are certainly very understandable.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to reach out to our older friends, family and neighbours - a simple phone call can make a remarkable difference in lifting someone’s mood and getting them through the day.

“We’re very concerned to see that nearly two in three people are struggling to get their day-to-day essentials.

“It’s essential that people heed the advice that is being given by supermarkets and the Government, and think about others when they’re doing their grocery shopping - including respecting special shopping hours or delivery windows for older and vulnerable people.”

The survey also found that more than two thirds of those polled felt anxious or worried about the impact of coronavirus.

Some 12pc said they had heard or been on the receiving end of negative language about older people in relation to Covid-19, while 14pc said they had been affected financially by the crisis.

The survey comes as letters are being sent to every home in Norfolk to get vulnerable people to seek the help they need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letters urge those people to make themselves known and also ask for volunteers, who can help get food and medicines to vulnerable people, to register.

Volunteers can register via the Voluntary Norfolk website at www.voluntarynorfolk.org.ukMORE: Firefighters agree to deliver food amid coronavirus pandemic

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