For SCI People, Isolation is the Norm – but COVID-19 Makes it Harder

Almost everyone in the world today is staying at home – and for some, frustration has set in. Some US cities are even staging protests demanding that the lockdown is lifted. But while an isolated life indoors is new to most people, it’s a reality that countless SCI and disabled people lived long before COVID-19.

To make matters worse, people with SCI are at significantly higher risk of complications from coronavirus and, like other disabled people, face the deepest and loneliest kind of isolation.

Carers, Isolation and Increased Risk

Disabled people are facing both the coronavirus and the heightened strain on the health and social care system. Social distancing is practically impossible to follow for people who rely on carers – some of whom could be carrying the virus with no symptoms, or quickly go off sick with a cough or fever.

The already battered social care system, reeling after 10 years of cuts and austerity measures, is unable to cope with sick staff and increased demand.

People with SCI are in the vulnerable category, meaning that COVID-19 is more likely to be dangerous or fatal – so at least assistance is essential. This is falling more and more on community and charity aid, something that isn’t available to everyone. Considering that almost half of disabled people are chronically lonely, there are millions of people out there without community support right now.

Even people in adapted homes who don’t need personal assistance are in need of essential services and supplies – and with stores like Amazon and supermarket online shopping struggling to meet demand, even those they promise to serve first are going without for longer than they should.

Many will be forced to go shopping. But the risk to SCI people going out for food and medicine is high – especially given that accessibility in most places leaves much to be desired, and some kind of physical contact with store assistants is almost inevitable.

Then, there’s the social side. The mental health side. The financial side. The childcare side.

Even if people weren’t lonely before the outbreak, they’re likely to feel it now. Many disabled people rely on their social connections and time with others. Without them, it’s increasingly more difficult to pass the time with positivity.

There are some great apps and pieces of software that are helping people get together digitally – but technology can only do so much; a WhatsApp video call can’t touch or soothe. It can’t give the presence of another person.

Loneliness is painful for all of us right now. With lockdown extended, it can feel like the weight’s only increasing.

But it’s important to remember why we’re all doing this: to save lives. It will pass eventually, and if we all do our bit and help who we can, there’ll be more of us to enjoy the world once we’re out of lockdown.

Aspire Law – Here to Help

Aspire Law is here to help with legal, housing and personal support, even if you don’t have a claim. Give us a call on 0800 030 20 40 or email to see how we can help.