One size does not fit all
The Committee was particularly interested in hearing about the different wants, needs, and hopes that older people across the country have for a future beyond the pandemic. But older people are not one homogenous group, and have just as varied lives as any other age group. David from Northern Ireland stressed this to the Committee, and was agreed with by the other participants throughout the discussion. In their view, policy makers should better understand this.
Dorothy from Scotland felt that the country as a whole needed to reflect on how the pandemic had changed society for older people. The group also felt that social inclusion was important, and that older people are often forgotten about. Steve from Manchester said the way older people are portrayed in the media and viewed by wider society could be improved, and that there should be better representations of different older people in public life. James from London felt this would help improve intergenerational relationships and broaden understanding of older people’s needs.
Members of the House of Lords responded, saying that improved social relationships could help with conversations about end of life and dispel the myths that some people have about death and dying. One Peer told the group how she had had difficult conversations around death because of the pandemic and the participants agreed that an unknown trauma was building across the country for those who have not been able to grieve properly. To help with this, Ian from Scotland felt that third sector organisations in communities across the country need Government support so they can continue to help those who are grieving or suffering with poor mental health to help them stay connected.