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MSP fears lockdown restrictions mean care home residents ‘losing the will to live’

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett.
Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett.

A north-east MSP has claimed care home residents are “losing the will to live” after constituents contacted him complaining of a lack of social interaction for their elderly relatives.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett made the claim at Holyrood when he said more social activity was needed to “save lives” of isolating care home residents.

Mr Burnett said: “Several constituents have been in touch to say that, because of lockdown restrictions and a severe lack of social interaction, family members have found their quality of life so diminished that they are losing the will to live.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett.

“Many conditions affecting older people, such as dementia, advance exponentially without human contact.”

Mr Burnett asked Older People and Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie what consideration was being taken of the impact of lockdown restrictions on the most vulnerable and “those who need social interaction to, quite literally, save their lives.”

Ms McKelvie replied by saying ministers were “well aware” of the impact of the lockdown on the elderly.

Christina McKelvie.

“We recognise the sacrifices that older people in care homes have made while isolating. We published a plan and guidance on June 25 to support a staged approach to a return to care home visiting, because we realise the value of such visits,” Ms McKelvie said.

“Care homes are now facilitating controlled outdoor and indoor visits where it is safe to do so.”

She said an easing of restrictions is on the way, including a return of routine face-to-face care from health and social care professionals from September 7.

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