'It was soul destroying': Relief as day care centres reopen after elderly suffer loneliness in lockdown

Day care centres have begun reopening as lockdown restrictions ease, allowing many older people to step outside for the first time in months.

Research by Age UK shows the pandemic has left a large amount of elderly people more anxious and depressed, with many feeling very much alone.

The charity says the proportion of over-70s feeling depressed has doubled during the pandemic.

81 year-old Tony Lefley from Leicester has visited a day centre run by Age UK for the first time in months.

Apart from the odd visit to his sister's house, it marked the first time he was able to leave his home and meet up with friends.

"Some days I would go to sleep, wake up, and I didn't know what day it was," says Tony.

"Four walls - it gets you after a while."

Day centres for elderly people are communal spaces which provide services and socialising, often enabling attendees to continue living at home rather than moving into a residential care home.

Social care experts say the reopening of day centres this week is vital to get many people back to some kind of normality.

It's after three national lockdowns during the pandemic have disrupted routines and the ability to stay socially connected.

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