Pandemic policy making: The health and wellbeing effects of the cessation of volunteering on older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jurgen Grotz, Sally Dyson, Linda Birt

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Abstract

Purpose: This policy-orientated commentary aims to provide a perspective on the effects of policy changes designed to reduce the risk of infection as a result of COVID-19. The example of the abrupt cessation of volunteering activities is used to consider the policy and practice implications that need to be acknowledged in new public service research to deal with the on-going implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and for future preparedness. Design/methodology/approach: The paper will provide a critical challenge to English pandemic health policy making, in particular, the national instruction “to stop non-essential contact with others” without a strategy on how to remedy the serious side effects of this instruction, in particular on older adults. Findings: The abrupt cessation of volunteering activities of and for older people because of the COVID-19 pandemic is highly likely to have negative health and wellbeing effects on older adults with long-term and far-reaching policy implications. Originality/value: The paper combines existing knowledge volunteering of and for older adults with early pandemic practice evidence to situate an emerging health and wellbeing crisis for older adults. It emphasises the importance of immediate further detailed research to provide evidence for policy and practice following the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions and in preparation for future crises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
Volume21
Issue number4
Early online date30 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Health and social care
  • NHS
  • Pandemic
  • Policy
  • Policy orientated commentary
  • Volunteering
  • Wellbeing

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