Over the past several months, the Scottish Pensioners' Forum were contacted by older workers, many of them key workers and frontline staff continuing to work, who shared their concerns over their health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The impact of COVID 19 on older workers can be significant; they are often at greater risk of developing serious illness if contracting the virus as well as being less likely to adapt to COVID Secure working practices.
As well as this ,if older workers contract COVID 19 they are also more likely to be absent from work for longer periods of time thereby isolating them from the normal daily social interaction their working environment provides for them. This could arguably result in higher incidences of social isolation and loneliness particularly when, due to geography and government restrictions, they have little contact with others when they really need it the most.
Older people are also less likely to be comfortable with digital communication, not only for maintaining social contact but also for work purposes, and the resultant impact on the mental health of those in work aged 60+ is likely to be considerable.
Statistics show that older workers, aged 55+, are also more likely to have the kind of underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID 19 resulting in them being forced to shield in order to protect themselves.
In order to find out more from the workers themselves, the Scottish Pensioners' Forum once again teamed up with our colleagues at Scottish Hazards to put out a survey asking questions on the issues of greatest concern in an older workforce.
We launched our survey in September 2020, running for 4 weeks until early October 2020. During that time 550 responses were received, an average of 140 per week. Views were sought from
The survey was designed to substantiate existing anecdotal evidence regarding COVID 19 and the impact it was having on older workers, their experiences of lockdown and employer engagement throughout the pandemic and when developing COVID secure workplaces.
A full copy of our report can be accessed here Covid 19 and the Safety of Older Workers