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Giving the green light to people who are fully vaccinated to meet indoors with one other household, who also has full protection, without wearing masks or staying 2 metres apart, will be very much welcomed by older members of our communities, Sage Advocacy has said.

Sarah Lennon, Executive Director of Sage Advocacy, said it is only right that older people who have endured some of the harshest aspects of Covid-19 restrictions and have been physically separated from family and friends for more than a year should enjoy the benefits of a vaccine bonus.

Ms Lennon said: “For the over 70s in particular who were subject to very strict lockdown measures because of the current guidance that deemed them to be among the most vulnerable to the severe impacts of Covid 19, the vaccination programme and the easing of restrictions marks a significant turning point.

“The lockdown has had a huge impact on the physical, mental health and wellbeing of older people. Sage Advocacy is also aware that the “stay at home” message led to many older people feeling isolated and lonely – many people who enjoyed sociable daily activities in their own community from meeting up with friends to taking part in long standing hobbies suddenly had all of these options withdrawn from them virtually overnight.

“The easing of restrictions will boost the spirits of many people because we know from our work that older members of our communities across Ireland have been looking forward to the lifting of lockdown restrictions so that they can safely meet up with friends and family.

“However, it is very disappointing that despite the latest changes no road map has been outlined for the resumption of adult day centres which play a vital role in enabling many older people to access social and health services in their own communities”.

Ms Lennon said the vaccine programme has offered many older people a great deal of hope and while the prospect of greater freedom will be warmly welcomed others may also have concerns about what life will be like in the coming weeks, even with a Covid-19 vaccine.

Ms Lennon said: “For many, particularly those who have been severely restricting their movements there may be challenges to adapting to an easing of restrictions and some people may have anxieties around this. What is important now is that we are all supportive of older members of our communities as they begin to enjoy more freedoms.”



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