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Breaking out

This week has seen the imposition of more restrictions on people’s activities in attempts to reduce the spread of Covid-19 – sensible and well-intentioned but in their extreme and catch-all determination, too much for most people to accept:

Extreme thinking would have all older people restricted in their movements to make them safe: ‘Age-based apartheid’ says the head of NHS England – and most people over 65

There are concerns for the safety of residents and staff of care homes, but the ingenuity and resilience of the care home sector internationally is evidenced by the introduction of competitive virtual cycling Out of retirement: the care home seniors chasing global cycling glory

I have been approached by organisations and individuals wanting to find something for people with dementia to do locally. So many activities have been scratched because of the rules of Covid – rules which have changed, varied place to place, and frequently seem less than logical.

A former colleague from another town was in touch last week. He has survived after a life-threatening infection with Covid, including six weeks in intensive care, four weeks on a ventilator and labelled ‘DNR’. He has no doubts that care must be taken to protect the most vulnerable. We agree – but with care and discipline we should be able to engage people in health-giving activities, especially in the outdoors.

Within the government’s rules, and with the oversight of The Ramblers Association, we and other Health Walks have cautiously returned to action. We are including some people with dementia – accompanied by a carer. The pleasure and animated expressions tell the story. We keep apart, but we do talk and look and comment, and appreciate. Today the morning was lovely with sun and colours from the leaves. Another week it may be raining, but we will feel it and be glad.

‘I can’t always get the word I want.’ But knowing you want it, and having a cause is life. Protected silence is death.

Geriatricians released us from cot beds and Buxton Chairs. Prudent activity will do much to save us from Covid-19.

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