By Izzy Harris
I have been spending the lockdown period in my family home in a suburban town just outside of London.
There are many elderly people on my road who are self-isolating and require younger people to help them get through this weird time by picking up their prescriptions and essentials in the supermarket.
I have seen my community draw together and have felt a real gratitude and respect between generations.
However, I question whether this is the case across the country with many people flaunting lockdown rules and a number of my friends saying that they think young people should be allowed to carry on with their lives as the virus doesn’t have as great an effect on them.
This really shocked me as, besides being scientifically inaccurate, it shows a lack of respect for the older generation and a dehumanisation of the elderly with the attitude that their lives are already over anyway.
I felt that this attitude was reflected in the government’s initial response to COVID-19 with the decision to not treat people in care homes or to report their deaths in the official coronavirus statistics.
I wonder if maybe I feel overly close to the older generation given my penchant for ‘The Archers’ and Radio 4, but I am certain that I am not the only one who feels this way. All over the country people are reaching out to support the elderly in their communities.
Many people will be communicating with and aiding elderly relatives at this time, either through the phone or by visiting them at a social distance.
In return, older people are reaching out to us; today I received a stash of home sewn face masks in the post from my Granny in an array of bright colours and sizes. I have had elderly neighbours empathising with me saying that they had their university studies similarly affected by World War 2!
Significantly, parents have been forced to take up a key role in their children’s education, with the rise of home-learning since schools were mandated to close. In this crisis there has been a greater reliance on communities by all people within them.
Respecting the lockdown has become essential in order to protect people of all generations – not just the elderly.
When life returns to normal after the lockdown, I hope that this sense of togetherness remains and that the connections made between generations continue to thrive in the post-coronavirus society.
Photograph: Michael Coghlan via flickr