Older people are struggling to buy enough food, survey suggests

Almost two thirds of older people are struggling to get enough food to meet their daily needs during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests.

The charity Independent Age said 64% of 489 adults over the age of 65 were unable to buy enough food, while 60% struggled to get household supplies.

The poll, carried out by Opinium between March 20 and 24, also found that 58% reported struggling to purchase enough toilet paper, while nearly a third (31%) had difficulty getting medicine and healthcare supplies.

Around 29% of those struggling to get supplies said they were having difficulties getting basic toiletries such as soap and shampoo.

Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, said: “Older people, particularly those aged over 70, are at higher risk from Covid-19, so the levels of anxiety being experienced are certainly very understandable.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to reach out to our older friends, family and neighbours – a simple phone call can make a remarkable difference in lifting someone’s mood and getting them through the day.

“We’re very concerned to see that nearly two in three people are struggling to get their day-to-day essentials.

“It’s essential that people heed the advice that is being given by supermarkets and the Government, and think about others when they’re doing their grocery shopping – including respecting special shopping hours or delivery windows for older and vulnerable people.”

The survey also found that more than two thirds of those polled felt anxious or worried about the impact of coronavirus.

Some 12% said they had heard or been on the receiving end of negative language about older people in relation to Covid-19, while 14% said they had been affected financially by the crisis.