Some thoughts on how to message about self isolation by people aged over 70

I’ve been writing about how I feel the messaging on physical distancing & social isolation among the over 70s may be having a backfire effect, or at very least not achieving the desired results, because it relies on highly paternalistic and condescending framing around ‘protecting the elderly & vulnerable’.  A colleague asked if I could suggest some alternative framing, so I’ve had a go here.    The crucial thing is that this message – or an adaptation of it – must come from widely respected people aged 70 and above & not from Ministers, or charities ‘for’ older people.  Welcome thoughts and comments.

‘We all have a role to play in minimising the harm that might otherwise be caused by Coronavirus. At the moment, the best way we can come together to do this is by staying apart from one another.

This is so that we can reduce the chances of passing the virus to one another. It is also to ensure that those who are bravely and tirelessly working to treat and take care of us if we become ill do not become overwhelmed by too many of us becoming unwell at the same time.

Those of us aged 70 and over have a particular role to play. Evidence from China, Italy, Spain and elsewhere shows that we are at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill should be contract the virus, and hence of needing to go to hospital.

So our biggest contribution right now is to do all we can to protect ourselves in order to stay well. That means going above and beyond what is being asked of younger generations, staying at home wherever possible and making every effort to maintain physical distance with others if we have reason to go out.

In return, younger generations will do all they can to support us through this period. If you need support contact xxxxx’ (relevant website, phone numbers etc to be added)




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