Your voice on the pandemic has been heard

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You’ll recall during the early to mid-stages of the national lockdown, National Seniors invited you our members to give feedback on your concerns about issues arising from the pandemic.

Thanks to the many of you, those concerns and opinions have not only been passed onto the federal government, but they are part of a new 33-page report providing a historical record of COVID-19 experiences of older Australians.

'Financially forgotten'

One of the strongest responses was the financial pressure the pandemic has caused, especially among those of you who are self-funded, with an enduring theme of being “forgotten” by the government.

These comments summed up the sentiment:

“Collapsing share market has severely impacted our superannuation.”

“This group don’t get government pensions, discounts off rates or utilities, health care cards etc...”

“Once again the Government is throwing money at everyone EXCEPT the self-funded retirees."

Lack of guidance for carers

Another enduring theme was a lack of advice for unpaid carers. Many of you who are looking after a frail loved one, expressed deep concern about who would care for them if you were to contract the virus.

Here’s what some of you told us:

“I care for my 100 yr old mother, so we are both in risk group...what happens if I come down with the virus? Who will help?”

“I am a fulltime carer to my elderly mum who is 88. I am fearful of getting the virus and passing it on to her.”

“Knowing who will care if the carer gets sick or dies.”

Carers also expressed frustration during the early phase of the lockdown about struggling to source personal protective equipment (PPE).

Panic buying

The biggest frustration and source of irritation was the panic buying just prior to and at the beginning of the lockdown and the lack of supplies despite “senior friendly” shopping hours.

The following comments were typical of the anger expressed by you and shared by the community:

“Panic shopping means that older and vulnerable people are missing out on important products.”

“It’s so frustrating each time we go shopping to see the empty shelves.”

“Now there are people stocking up on medicines!! My husband is insulin dependent....”

Other major issues of feedback were:

  • Mental health
  • Digital needs being overlooked
  • Transport needs
  • Funding to support carers

You can read the full report here.

Over the next weeks we will bring you the findings from the follow-up ‘Way Out’ survey that captured your concerns as restrictions are being lifted in many parts of the country.