Recorder letters: Grandparents, hospitals, neighbourly neighbour and a minute’s silence

PUBLISHED: 12:30 03 May 2020

There is an assumption that all older people are frail and vulnerable. Picture: PA Images

There is an assumption that all older people are frail and vulnerable. Picture: PA Images


Grandparenting might disappear!

M Chris Walsh, chairman, Positive Ageing in London, writes:

The prospects of some continued lockdown for anyone over 70 ( and now possibly 60+!) is harrowing news for older people. We at Positive Ageing in London(PAiL) - London’s Age forum -have been told by many of our members about their concern.

There is a worrying assumption prevailing that all older people are frail and vulnerable which isn’t the case. Not only are people living longer but they are also leading active lives – 71 per cent of over 50s are in employment, 1.2 million pensioners are in work while the majority of carers are aged over 50.

To suppress that activism would have calamitous consequences for the contribution older people make to society. A large number of older people are actively engaged in and involved with economic and social activities, playing a key role in volunteering, caring and civic roles.

But there are also the other severe consequences for the UK if continued lockdown for over 70s only were to happen. Grand-parenting would disappear as we know it; the two million carers over the age of 65 would find their role extremely difficult; charities would face the lack of involvement of older people (29pc of over 65s volunteer regularly); the more than half a million workers over 70 would suffer and the silver economy once argued as essential to the UK’s prosperity would collapse.

And presumably, the 28 MPs over the age of 70 would need to be the first completely online only elected representatives working as best they can from their own homes, not to mention a large number of over 70s members of the House of Lords!.

We understand that like everyone else, seniors will only be safe to come out of lockdown when the government can guarantee sufficient PPE for all front line staff and patients, widespread testing and tracking and travellers can avail themselves of protective masks.

However, when it is safe it should be safe for all active citizens

Any thinking about a continued lockdown for over 70s needs to look at the adverse consequences and be more evidence-based around medical risk and look at what other European and Asian countries are doing in their exit strategies rather than what some might see as simple ageist perceptions.

The way ahead for hospitals

Bob Archer, Redbridge Trades Union Council; Pete Mason, Socialist Party; Andy Walker and Rose Mary Warrington, Green Party, c/o Blythswood Road, Ilford, write:

According to a recent tweet by Cllr Santos, BHRUT have provided an extra 117 beds at a previously disused Goodmayes Hospital building to cope with extra demand during the coronavirus crisis.

We welcome this extra temporary capacity and congratulate local NHS staff for commissioning the works so quickly. BHRUT is carrying out a clinical review now into the future of King George and Queen’s hospitals. The review must consider making the temporary facility part of a permanent new wing at King George for maternity, universal same day emergency care (currently limited to the elderly frail) and acute beds to relieve pressure on Queen’s and cope with the expanding east London population.

What was this man doing?

You may also want to watch:

A young person from Chadwell Heath wrote a letter to the neighbours:

Yesterday, a very bad incident took place.

My brother saw a man spit on his hand and then put it on our road’s cars. So, from now on we have to be careful. So, I now will give you a piece of advice:

1. Do not touch your car handle.

2. Wear gloves if you want to open your door.

3. Clean your car to make sure all germs go away.

4. Stay safe at home.

Minute’s silence for those who gave

Mahabir Sangha, Bethell Avenue, Ilford, writes:

“Sisyphus: A minute of Silence”

Would you side with the Gods and just continue to watch (detached) Sisyphus roll his boulder up the hill and when he reached the top the boulder on its own accord roll down again to the bottom again and again, forever? Sisyphus accepting his destiny, without any complaint carried on performing his assigned job, discharging his duties. Accepting fate for what it was and rather than complain against the unfairness continue to do his jib with arete, engagement and care without flinching, without complaining, without shirking. Just doing his job. Day in, day out.

Giving his best, doing his best. No expectations of thank you or recognition or acknowledgement. The question I ask is: Is this a reflection of attitude or his effort?

I would say both. Just keep doing your job with total commitment, excellence, care and professionalism. Make sure the job is done right, always. No matter how tired you became or how many hours you have worked without a break.

There are fine examples of Sisyphus in every country, every city, every street, every household. Millions of Sisyphus, doing their job day in day out, serving others, sacrificing their own wellbeing. Coronavirus is being dealt with by these soldiers of duty. The Doctors, the nurses, the medics, the ambulance drivers, the essential goods service, stores and shops, the mailmen, the utility providers, the bin collectors, the volunteers who make themselves available to be of any service from doing shopping for the isolated to checking on mental wellbeing of the elders living on their own.

The mothers and fathers who continue to run both households and work. The police, the army, the heroes we often just walk by and never stop and say thank you to and salute. I saw a security guy receive abuse only yesterday when he asked somebody lazing around my local park on his bike. Disgraceful is the only word. Irresponsible is another that would describe the mindset and attitude of the cyclist. The security guy just buttoned his lips and carried on regardless, with total professionalism and care doing what his job was. To keep people safe. A real-life Sisyphus. No one said thank you when we should.

I propose:

A minute’s silence to all those who have paid with life, died doing their job during this crisis,a gun salute, a plaque with all their names, so we can pay our respects. And there are many who are indebted and grateful to theses unsung heroes.

I stand outside my front door every Thursday, clapping with inner gratitude and deep pride for these frontline workers, soldiers of duty who serve us without any expectations from us. And there is always a tear in my eye and deep grief in my heart for those who have lost their life in duty. I say Thank you.

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