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Our View: Continued restrictions in care homes are beyond cruel

feature gina the restrictive measures may aim to protect them from illness, but loneliness, depression, and stress may also kill a vulnerable elder person, expert says

At the same time as the general population is benefitting from the lifting of most Covid restrictions, we read that elderly people continue to be virtual prisoners in care homes with no indication that they too will be given a respite.

Summer may be coming but autumn and winter will not be far behind when all of the Covid precautions are likely to resurface, especially for the elderly. But unlike the rest of us, it looks like they will not be allowed to enjoy a few months of freedom even though for many of them, due to their age, it could even be their last summer on this earth.

Instead, they will remain cut off from the outside world without any apparent show of mercy from the Covid Gestapo. These are the people in authority who told them life would go back to normal once they were vaccinated. Most have been vaccinated and some even had Covid on top and are likely already immune, but no exceptions are being made.

Government advisor Petros Karayiannis said any relaxations would depend on the further improvement of the epidemiological picture and the number of coronavirus hospitalisations. Funny how we all thought the indicators were fine, hence the lifting of most measures. Last Friday’s hospitalisations clocked in at a mere 45 people.

Justifying the remaining restrictions, Karayiannis said nursing homes were the most vulnerable spaces because all residents are elderly. These are weasel words from someone who does not have to live in a care home and has not had his freedom taken away.

There are two facts in life right now. Covid is not going away, ever, and there will always be elderly people who can catch it so can we deduce from the professor’s comments that people in care-homes will be isolated forever?  If not, what is the metric for lifting this isolation?

Probably there isn’t one. The authorities want to claim they are protecting the elderly. This is done by treating them like two-year-olds?

Where is the logic in the mantra we’ve been hearing for over two years that ‘the elderly and vulnerable’ must be protected but with the lifting of measures, the vulnerable who are not in institutions can roam freely at their own risk while the elderly must be locked down? It’s beyond cruel.

The National Gerontology Centre is calling for immediate relaxation of measures on care homes but so far it seems to be falling on deaf ears. It accuses the authorities of failing to take into account the effects that isolation can have on the elderly, many of whom literally only hang on to life so they can spend time with their loved ones before they die.

The head of the centre said the measures may aim to protect them from illness, but loneliness, depression, and stress may also kill a vulnerable elder person. “They [authorities] are either unaware that isolation carries these risks, or they know about them and are doing nothing,” he said.

We would guess they are aware.

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