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Millions of elderly face 'perfect storm' caused by COVID, Brexit and weather, warns charity

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
Disruption to supplies and winter weather could impact elderly people, Age UK has said. (PA)
Disruption to supplies and winter weather could impact elderly people, Age UK has said. (PA)

Millions of elderly people in the UK face a “perfect storm” of the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and winter weather, a charity has warned.

Age UK’s director said even the most organised of people could suddenly become cut off from essentials if events go against them.

Caroline Abrahams has called on “good neighbours” to make themselves available for help the millions of elderly people with COVID-19, Brexit and snow potentially set to impact their ability to get supplies.

“We tend to take easy access to food and other essentials for granted, but this Christmas a number of factors are getting in the way,” she said.

Read more: Schools to reopen 'as planned' despite 'catastrophe' warning

STOURBRIDGE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Cars are covered in snow as heavy snow falls down on the West Midlands over night on December 28, 2020 in Stourbridge, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)
Snowfall in the UK this week could make life more difficult for older people. (Getty Images)

“Bad weather, the pandemic and disruption to supply lines from Europe are creating a perfect storm, whereby even the most organised among us can find we’re unexpectedly cut off from things we need.

“Any of us can find ourselves out of supplies at the moment, for example if an online delivery is cancelled or we suddenly have to self-isolate, but it’s that much more difficult if it happens to older people, especially those who are isolated and alone.”

The pandemic has had a severe impact on the elderly, who are more at risk from developing a serious illness from infection.

Care homes have been seen as particularly vulnerable if they suffer an outbreak, and elderly residents are top of the vaccination priority list.

Age UK’s call has come days ahead of the UK moving on from its Brexit transition year to implementing the new agreement with the EU, should it get parliamentary approval.

Lorries queue on the A20 to enter the port of Dover in Kent. Christmas stockpiling and Brexit uncertainty have again caused huge queues of lorries to stack up in Kent. The latest delays came as the UK marked less than two weeks until 2021 and the end of the Brexit transition period.
Lorry drivers were left stuck when France temporarily closed its border. (PA)

Despite reaching the accord, the think-tank UK in a Changing Europe warned there will still be some disruption because companies don’t have the necessary paperwork to move goods over the border, The Times reports.

Winter weather could also make it difficult for all people to get around and shop or order supplies.

Snowfall has caused travel disruption in parts of the UK this week, and West Yorkshire Police asked people to avoid unnecessary journeys there.

Snow and ice warnings have been put in place for some places.

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Abrahams said “we need to be available to the older people in our lives and prepared to help them out if that’s what they require”.

“If we can be good neighbours to older people living nearby that can make a huge difference too,” she added.

Anyone worried about an older person can call Age UK on 0800 678 1602.

Watch: What is long COVID?