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Aberdeen councillor asks for clarification on mental health care for elderly

Councillor Steve Delaney
Councillor Steve Delaney

A local councillor is hoping to get clarification from the Scottish Government on whether people can visit their elderly relatives on the grounds of mental health.

Since the start of Coronavirus measures, many of our elderly population have found themselves forced inside due to the inherent risks the virus presents.

Unable to see friends and family, questions have been raised on the toll that these extended periods alone will have on those unable to leave the house.

Current guidance from the Scottish Government permits indoor visits for the purposes of providing care or support to a vulnerable person.

Something councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley and Summerhill, Steve Delaney is asking for clarification on with regards to care provisions and mental health.

Taking the subject to Aberdeen City Council members on Monday, he hopes all the parties and their respective councillors will come together and write to both the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing, Jeane Freeman, for help on the issue.

He said: “Mental health is just as important as physical health so ideally we can get clarification for the elderly and disabled people living across Aberdeen and indeed Scotland.

“We need to come together to support elderly and disabled people who live alone and to do it in a safe way.

“Indeed the same should apply equally to a younger person who is living alone and struggling with their mental health.”

A study undertaken by the Scottish Government last year found one in four people across the country experience some form of mental health issue.

Loneliness being chief among those alongside anxiety and depression, something local charities such as Mental Health Aberdeen have attempted to alleviate with fundraising efforts – turning out branded merchandise in a bid to create a culture of helping and togetherness.

With some people not having had direct contact with others for months, other than for food and medicine drop-offs, worries surrounding a further decrease in mental wellbeing have arisen.

Mr Delaney added: “Everyone’s primary aim is to keep people safe but the current restrictions make no allowance for elderly or disabled people who live alone.

“Visits would almost certainly need to be limited in respect of numbers and it would be expected that the same guidelines applying to paid carers would apply.

“I’m most certainly not suggesting a complete lifting of restrictions in respect of people living alone. That would put lives at risk.”

“I’m sure many people across Aberdeen, and indeed across Scotland as a whole, will be looking to them to support this proposal and end the isolation being suffered by those are often unable to speak out for themselves.”

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