Older people’s charities urged to act on ‘window of opportunity’ to ramp up campaigning

Older people’s charities have an ‘opportunity to leverage’ the public’s heightened sense of urgency to support the elderly during the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey is suggesting.

While older people’s charities are relatively low on the UK public’s list of favourite charities, the health crisis has prompted a far greater proportion to consider supporting elderly issues.

According to a survey by nfpSynergy just 14% of the public list older people’s causes among their favourite charities, compared to 38% citing cancer charities and 34% for those supporting animals.

But when asked which good causes they would consider supporting in the next three months, around a quarter (24%) said old people’s charities, ranking it the fourth most popular cause to support.

nfpSynergy notes that this increased support for elderly issues comes despite the majority of people (84%) believing that central and local government, rather than the voluntary sector, should provide the bulk of practical care for older people.

“The fact that people feel that the state should provide the bulk of care support for older people…might in part explain why awareness has not always translated into direct support for charities in the past,” said nfpSynergy.

“But the increased support seen in light of the pandemic indicates that people feel a sense of urgency around care for older people, and there is an opportunity to leverage this momentum into even more support for charities that help to tackle the issues associated with old age.”

It suggests that charities supporting the elderly should focus future campaigning on issues such as loneliness, to encourage donations and support.

Among the public, the main word associated with old age is ‘lonely’, cited by 54% of those surveyed.

“Loneliness is an issue that all age brackets can directly relate to, including younger people, especially now that with the pandemic, it is likely that everyone has experienced it directly or indirectly to at least some degree,” added nfpSynergy.

“Highlighting efforts to combat loneliness might make the work done by these charities more relatable and increase support.”

It adds that charities such as Age UK, Independent Age and The Silver Line “already do a lot to tackle loneliness among this group”.

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