Pandemic policy making: The health and wellbeing effects of the cessation of volunteering because of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults

Grotz, Jurgen, Dyson, Sally and Birt, Linda (2020) Pandemic policy making: The health and wellbeing effects of the cessation of volunteering because of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 21 (4). pp. 261-269. ISSN 1471-7794

[img]
Preview
PDF (Accepted_Manuscript) - Submitted Version
Download (307kB) | Preview

Abstract

On 29th June 2020 the President of the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Sir Robert Lechler stated that: “Pandemic policy making needs science”. This commentary reflects on this statement exploring two distinct questions relating to the health and wellbeing effects of the cessation of volunteering 1) older adults who volunteer and 2) older adults who receive volunteer support. COVID-19 is a disease that disproportionally affects mortality of older adults around the globe. The policy responses to the pandemic, in particular, halting social interaction without preparation to address the adverse effects of this, are likely to affect public and voluntary sector services and subsequently to disproportionally affect the health and wellbeing of older adults. Purpose: This policy-orientated commentary aims to provide a perspective on the effects of policy changes designed to reduce risk of infection as a result of COVID-19. The example of the abrupt cessation of volunteering activities is used to consider the policy and practice implication that need to be acknowledged in new public service research to deal with the on-going implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and for future preparedness. Design: The paper will provide a critical challenge to English pandemic health policy making, in particular the national instruction ‘to stop non-essential contact with others’ without a strategy on how to remedy the serious side effects of this instruction, in particular on older adults. Findings: The abrupt cessation of volunteering activities of and for older people because of the COVID-19 crisis is highly likely to have negative health and wellbeing effects on older adults with long-term and far-reaching policy implications. Originality: The paper combines existing knowledge volunteering of and for older adults with early pandemic practice evidence to situate an emerging health and wellbeing crisis for older adults. It emphasises the importance of immediate further detailed research to provide evidence for policy and practice following the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions and in preparation for future crises.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2021 00:56
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2021 00:58
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/78023
DOI: 10.1108/QAOA-07-2020-0032

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item