Older people in the context of COVID-19: A European perspective

Pentaris, Panagiotis; Willis, Paul; Ray, Mo; Deusdad, Blanca; Lonbay, Sarah; Niemi, Mia and Donnelly, Sarah. 2020. Older people in the context of COVID-19: A European perspective. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 63(8), pp. 736-742. ISSN 0163-4372 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The Coronavirus pandemic and associated measures for the protection of the public have impacted differently on different parts of the population and across different nations. In many areas, COVID-19 has also either exacerbated already existing or created new inequalities in relation to specific parts of the population. Older individuals are one group in society that has been widely impacted, while social isolation/shielding measures have placed them in higher risk of loneliness, isolation, financial deprivation and mental health challenges, to name a few. This commentary reflects on such inequalities across four European nations (the United Kingdom (UK), Republic of Ireland, Finland, Spain) and draws attention to the critical role of Gerontological Social Work (GSW), while emphasizing the ways in which social work can intervene. First, we identify common concerns for the rights of older people that span across all four nations, and second, we identify significant roles for GSW practitioners at the individual, community and policy levels and conclude with a call for GSW in these four nations to be reimagined in a time of global crisis.

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“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work on 24 September 2020, available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01634372.2020.1821143. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.”


older people; social work; human rights; COVID-19; pandemic; ageism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Faiths and Civil Society
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Social Work


18 August 2020Accepted
24 September 2020Published Online

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Date Deposited:

10 Oct 2022 09:29

Last Modified:

10 Oct 2022 09:31

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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