COVID-19 and Social Exclusion: Experiences of older people living in areas of multiple deprivation

Covid-19 and social exclusion cover

Published by the University of Manchester’s Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA), this paper reveals the challenges faced during the coronavirus pandemic by people aged 50 and over, especially those living in deprived areas.

The research - funded by Manchester City Council, the Centre for Ageing Better and the National Lottery Community Fund’s Ageing Better Programme - was designed to learn about the pandemic’s impact on the everyday lives of older people, to examine the activities of community organisations working on their behalf, and to assist the local authorities and NGOs who work with them.

The research found that older people worked within their communities to support others during the pandemic by:

  • befriending
  • volunteering
  • adapting to digital technology
  • drawing on their own lifelong interests and activities
  • accessing green spaces in the community
  • and drawing on their religious faith and beliefs

And, some recommedations made in the report include:

  • Focus on the restoration of, and access to, community spaces
  • Work closely with neighbourhoods, especially to avoid unequal vaccination distribution 
  • Commit to adequate funding to meet the range of needs emerging after three successive lockdowns
  • Tackle the experiences of social exclusion by women from South Asian community, men and women living alone, and those who were in a poor physical and/or mental health before the pandemic began

The report underlines the importance of developing a ‘community-centred’ approach in COVID-19 recovery planning, an essential part of which will be ensuring that the views of older people take centre stage.