The United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs has issued a Policy Brief on the Covid-19 Impact on older adults. This policy brief elaborates on the impacts of COVID-19 and identifies both immediate and longer term policy and programmatic responses needed to protect older people.
In his video address to launch the Policy Brief, Secretary-General António Guterres, stressed four points to highlight the challenges facing older adults:
“First, no person, young or old, is expendable. Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else. Difficult decisions around life-saving medical care must respect the human rights and dignity of all.
Second, while physical distancing is crucial, let’s not forget we are one community and we all belong to each other. We need improved social support and smarter efforts to reach older people through digital technology. That is vital to older people who may face great suffering and isolation under lockdowns and other restrictions.
Third, all social, economic and humanitarian responses must take the needs of older people fully into account, from universal health coverage to social protection, decent work and pensions. The majority of older people are women, who are more likely to enter this period of their lives in poverty and without access to healthcare. Policies must be targeted at meeting their needs.
And fourth, let’s not treat older people as invisible or powerless. Many older people depend on an income and are fully engaged in work, in family life, in teaching and learning, and in looking after others. Their voices and leadership count.
To get through this pandemic together, we need a surge in global and national solidarity and the contributions of all members of society, including older people.”