‘Can I see my grandparents now?’ What the roadmap out of lockdown says for those over 70
PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:22 13 May 2020
The hardest part of lockdown for many has been going without seeing loved ones.
This has been particularly difficult for the elderly, many of whom live alone and have been staying at home completely - known as shielding - because their risk of serious illness from Covid-19 is higher.
But the gradual easing of the restrictions around daily life, which take effect from Wednesday, has given hope that people can once again see their grandparents and older friends and relatives.
The government’s new ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown says clinically vulnerable people - those considered to be at higher risk from the virus - includes people over 70, pregnant women, people with liver disease and others.
They are being asked to stay at home as much as possible and “take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households” - but if they are not in a separate clinically extremely vulnerable group, they do not need to shield.
They can therefore have a socially distanced meeting at the park with one person outside their household, in line with the rules for everyone else.
This will be a particular relief to many residents in north Norfolk where the median age is 54.3 - the highest in the UK.
MP for the area, Duncan Baker, said: “The government recognises that those aged over 70 can be absolutely fit and healthy.
“It’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or underlying disease. We are not saying that all those aged over 70 need to shield, merely that they should continue to take particular care.”
Angela Reith, manager of the non-profit group Age Concern North Norfolk, said it would be a “huge relief” for older people to once again see loved ones.
Mrs Reith said many of the older people she knew who were shielding were more lonely than ever, and missing getting out and about.
Janet Buck, 85, from Hellesdon, is among those looking forward to once again seeing her loved ones.
Mrs Buck, a retired North Walsham Hospital nurse who grew up in Northrepps, said: “I try and be happy but I do miss my friends and family immensely.
“I’m lucky that I can get outside in my garden, I’m growing lots of plants, and I read as well.”
Mrs Buck said family members had stood outside her bunglow and showed her how to use Skype through the window.
She said: “It’s lovely because I can see my granddaughter and my grandson on there. My granddaughter said ‘here nanna, you can have my ice cream’ and she dribbled it on the screen. We had a laugh.”
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