It seems the Government has given with one hand and taken with the other. Only yesterday we were welcoming their commitment of testing for family members/friends to allow meaningful visits in care homes by Christmas. Now, their plans to allow us to form ‘Christmas bubbles’ of up to three households specifically exclude older people in care: “visits out of care homes should only be considered for care home residents of working age”.
If those living in care didn’t already feel like prisoners in their own homes, Government rules to lock people in over Christmas will be a new low in attempts to control the virus. We have already received calls to our helpline from family members in tears over what this new announcement means for them and their relatives in care.
It is yet another blanket policy imposed by the Government on older people in care. The cut off at working age is arbitrary and unfair. It not only discriminates on the basis of age, but also on the basis of where a person lives as older people receiving care in their own homes will be free to join a Christmas bubble.
Older people in care have now faced restrictions and isolation over nine months. This is having a devastating impact on older people’s mental health and their rights. Too many residents have been told during this period that they are not allowed to leave their homes, interfering with their right to liberty (protected by Article 5 of the Human Rights Act). We have already seen these restrictions leading to desperate scenes of families ‘rescuing’ their relatives from care homes and many more families considering a move out of care.
We urge the Government to rethink this heart-breaking policy. Whilst the rest of the country will be free to celebrate, reconnect and make precious memories, those living in care who have been at the sharp end of coronavirus restrictions, with dire and tragic consequences, cannot be left behind in continued isolation.
Help us to urge the Government to rethink this policy, by writing to your MP. See our template letter here. You can also spread the word on social media, using #EndIsolationInCare, and linking to this page.