Over 70's are not being forgotten by shielding, they're being cherished

3 May 2020, 11:00 | Updated: 3 May 2020, 17:19

By Seán Hickey

Over 70s have begun to feel forgotten by society during the coronavirus lockdown, but the opposite is true.

Andrew was receiving calls in the morning from frustrated over 70s who are shielding as part of the UK's coronavirus response. Many were annoyed at the fact they are being treated differently by the government and isolating even though they may not be as frail as they're being shown to be.

Dame Esther Rantzen joined Andrew Castle to tackle the misconception by over 70s that they are being forgotten in the pandemic. She is the founder of The Silver Line, which is a phone line which provides services to senior citizens.

Dame Esther told Andrew that she couldn't accept that the UK is ignoring seniors. "My own approach to this is a measure of how much we are valued rather than us being discriminated against" she said.

The TV presenter told Andrew that if the elderly were being forgotten, they would be treated like the rest of the public and be encouraged to go out in public and supermarkets wouldn't be opening earlier especially for them.

"We want you to survive so please will you shield yourself" Dame Esther pushed.

Dame Esther Rantzen assured those shielding they are valued
Dame Esther Rantzen assured those shielding they are valued. Picture: PA

She pointed out to Andrew that if it was the case that over 70s were treated the same as everyone else, the NHS would end up overwhelmed and wouldn't be able to cope.

"It would be worse if I was taking up a bed in ICU" Dame Esther said, concluding that during this time, she will do what the government has recommended, despite her health.

Andrew pointed out that times have changed in terms of health care and he understands why many over 70s are irritated by the measures. "70 to 75 used to be all you could expect, now, absolutely not" he said.

Dame Esther wasn't too quick to agree, pointing out that "as we get older we do get more vulnerable." She added that "we have to be realistic about this" and pointed out that although the elderly are living longer, they are nevertheless more at risk of ill health.

She suggested that over 70s embrace the time they have on their hands stuck indoors, calling for people to get creative. "Why not use the time to write the life story you always promised your grandchildren" she suggested.

Dame Esther made the point that British seniors can "look back at lockdown as the most creative time" of their life.

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