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Age Concern fears Level 3 lockdown will still leave elderly lonely and 'desperate'

At least 100,000 elderly New Zealanders are isolating alone amid the coronavirus pandemic. And even if the nation moves to Alert Level 3 today, it won't mean much for this high-risk group - unable to even go to the supermarket until Alert Level 1.

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Even after Alert Level 4 ends, about 100,000 elderly Kiwis will still need strict social distancing, Age Concern warns. Source: 1 NEWS

That has led Age Concern to issue a plea to the public to continue the kindness towards our older communities, and not let up as the alert levels drop.

Lockdown for Bob Alderson meant losing a social lifeline. A volunteer driver from Auckland's Cancer Society has been coming for 10 years, but that's had to stop.

"I've been lonely for years. Unfortunately, it's made me rather bitter. It has affected me very badly," he told 1 NEWS.

For Ros Capper, too, lockdown meant loss.

"I'm not to go to shops or be with my family and friends. I found it very sudden," she says.

And while Helen can chat with neighbours, she still gets lonely.

"It's scary. All I can do is walk down there and around the estuary," she says

Age Concern says it's hitting people hard.

"Some people are so desperate they can't see a way forward," chief executive Kevin Lamb says.

Level 3 may not improve things, he says.

"A minority of older people may be included in extended bubbles, but for many it makes no difference," Mr Lamb says.

Interaction is still vital, like Mr Alderson's regular visits from Adith.

"I passionately believe everyone needs support in life. In small ways you can make such a big difference," Adith says.

There are all sorts of ways to help out: treats dropped off by family, a note offering help from the local community, and don't underestimate FaceTime.

"It nourishes my soul, because it's just love," Mrs Capper says.

It's making lockdown that bit more bearable.