Blog by Sue Adams, CEO of Care & Repair England

The vast majority (well over 90%) of those who have died as a result of the pandemic are older people. This includes both deaths recorded as resulting from Covid-19 and also the ‘excess’ deaths above normal levels.

I find this truly shocking, especially as this is hardly ever mentioned in the bland reporting of daily Covid-19 deaths that we (almost) accept as a new norm. Have older people become expendable?

There is no doubt that the pandemic continues to impact on everyone to some extent, but for many older people the wider effects have been catastrophic.

Many have faced bereavement as their older partners, family and friends have died. Fear of contracting Covid-19 (given the high risk of not recovering, albeit greatly improved since vaccination), self-isolation and massively restricted social contact has had a huge impact on both physical and mental health.


These effects will ripple through the ageing population for years to come, and in ways not yet clear or quantifiable.


The latest Care & Repair England publication, Making Homes fit for Ageing & Caring: The consequences of COVID-19 for the housing, health and well-being of older people in England, draws on a range of research and data sources to highlight the consequences of COVID-19 and associated ‘lockdowns’ for older people in England with particular reference to their housing, health and well-being, and considers the post-pandemic housing policy implications.

The unequal effects of Covid-19 should be a major concern to policy makers and practitioners alike.  As well as age, the impacts of COVID-19 have been disproportionately felt by certain population groups - those with long term health conditions, some black and minority ethnic groups – plus geographically variable, with stark differences for those living in disadvantaged areas, the North of England and parts of the Midlands particularly badly affected.

The pandemic highlighted the critical role of the home – housing stability, security, safety, design and quality all underpin health. It became even more obvious during lockdown that substandard, insecure, hazardous, overcrowded and unhealthy homes greatly affected people’s mental and physical health.

Short memories, and an apparent desire to ‘move on and forget’, seems to have reduced some of the resulting impetus to improve housing quality.

As the NHS and Social Care face ever more desperate pressures, an important housing contribution that can help to reduce these crisis demands is immediate, targeted (and resourced) action to make the homes of disadvantaged older people safer, healthier places to age well and, where care is needed, good places to be looked after.