More than one year after its outbreak, the COVID-19 is still spreading across Europe and worldwide. Our governments and authorities keep on joining forces at local, national, EU and international levels to address the pandemic. Their key objective remains to ensure that hospitals and health care professionals maintain their capacity to provide care to all who need medical assistance.
With this webpage, we wish to contribute to the effort of providing reliable information on the pandemic and the challenges it raises to older persons and to all of us as a society. You will also find recommendations, good practices and initiatives from our members and other partners.
Solidarity, still the best response
Many EU countries have been taking diverse approaches and measures to slow down the spread of the virus and to address its successive waves. Over the past year, measures had to be adapted to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed while at the same time easing the pressure on the other sectors of society.
Any response to this unprecedented crisis must be collective and based on solidarity and mutual support. This is crucial to ensure that the parallel health, psychological, economic and overall societal impacts of the pandemic will be addressed as efficiently as possible leaving no one behind.
“Beyond the tragic events which touched so many people of all ages, our families, friends, and communities, the past months have shown the importance and potential of solidarity between people and generations. We have learned that being united is the only effective response to a crisis such as the pandemic, to any crisis”.
Maciej Kucharczyk, AGE Secretary General
Physical distancing should not mean social distancing
Containment measures imply physical distancing to ensure to constrain the virus spread. This should however not break our social bonds. There are many alternative ways to stay connected remotely with our dear ones, e.g. through telephone, regular post, internet and social media.
While the successive quarantines have shown how digital technologies can help connect people, they are also reminding us, perhaps more blatantly than ever, of the inequalities that exist in accessing them. Using internet and virtual communication means may be a challenge for older persons who do not use them in their daily lives.
Vaccination: a light in the tunnel?
The arrival of the vaccine brings great hope for a sooner and safer way out of the pandemic. It is expected to hinder the transmission of the virus and curb the occurrence of severe cases. Yet, if vaccination is a useful tool against the virus, it will not mean the end of the fight as measures will have to be pursued in the coming months.
The vaccination strategy also raises challenges in terms of information, availability, accessibility or affordability, as some AGE member organisations have highlighted.
COVID-19 and human rights in older age
Older persons have the same rights as others, and these must be equally protected during the pandemic.
As evidence collected from our member organisations and external experts demonstrate, the coronavirus pandemic is posing distinct threats to the equal enjoyment of human rights by older persons, namely in terms of access to health and social care, discrimination and social exclusion. We have been particularly concerned by the situation of older people in residential settings, those who live alone and older persons who receive care at home. In our publication COVID-19 and human rights concerns for older persons we explain why older persons needs particular attention to ensure their rights are equally protected during the pandemic.
Learn more about the human rights implications of COVID-19 for older persons on our dedicated webpage
Initiatives and good practices about COVID-19
Below you can find the list of the main news we published in relation to COVID-19. Most of them have been developed thanks to the input collected from our member organisations. We thank them for their time and for the tremendous job they are doing on the ground!
This list is regularly updated. If you are aware of inspiring initiatives taking place in your region, please share it with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Civil society organisations must be key agents of change in post COVID-19 societies
- Official resources on COVID-19 vaccination
- Third report of the Fundamental Rights Agency on COVID-19 including a Focus on Older People
- European Commission proposes roadmap to lifting coronavirus containment measures
- European Commission's President recommends maintaining confinement of older persons until COVID-19 vaccine becomes available
- Commissioner Dalli's statement on COVID-19 & older persons and joint letter to EU governments
- Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative + additional support to workers and businesses
> Find here official resources on COVID-19 general information, vaccination, guidance & recommendations and international & EU policy briefs, statements or reports