A daunting time for many elderly people, the outbreak of the Coronavirus means that many of our loved ones will be facing even greater challenges as they are recommended to or forced to self-isolate.
As well as the health fears surrounding getting the virus, there are also the fears of how they will cope with this extended period of isolation.
Here are some key ways you may be able to help loved ones, friends and neighbours who might struggle over the next few months.
1. Check in – Arrange a daily call, whether it’s relatives, friends or neighbours a phone call or even a text or email means a lot. If they are able to cope with technology of face-to-face options like skype, even better, but don’t underestimate the power of personal connection.
2. Stay away if you are ill – No false modesty here. If you’re sick, don’t pass it on.
3. Supplies - Set-up online shopping for their food deliveries – it’s hard at the moment, as so many slots are booked, but if you can get them to write down or text their list to you, then you can do the ordering. If you are close enough and have the capacity, you may even be able to do the shopping for them.
4. Chemist deliveries – some will deliver, it’s worth checking in your relevant area whether there are any available and setting this up before it’s needed or critical.
5. Local connections – Locally focussed apps like Nextdoor are great connectors. There may well be people who are volunteering to support the elderly in their neighbourhood and who may be able to help with shopping and other errands.
6. Contingency Planning – It’s important to hope for best but plan for the worst, so create an emergency plan with key contacts and a list of medication your loved one needs. Be aware that if the main carer in the family becomes ill, support might be needed quickly. You can find the local support agencies here.
7. If you live far away, touch base with their neighbours for contact details in case they need to contact you urgently.
8. Ensure that deliveries are left outside so there’s no person to person contact.
9. If you live in the same household, keep your distance and obviously don’t share beds, linen or meals.
10. Carer hygiene – for as long as carers are allowed in to care, ensure that they are properly adhering to the hygiene recommendations and that they do not come in if they are showing any signs of illness.
11. Consider subscriptions to Netflix or extra Sky/Virgin channels to help stave off boredom
12. Similarly arrange for extra newspaper or magazine deliveries
13. Encourage activity – for many elderly people there’s a fear that ailments such as arthritis may be made worse by the enforced inactivity. There’s nothing worse than sitting watching TV all day, so do encourage them, as much as possible, to get outside for a little fresh air and walking exercise, even if it’s only a walk around the flat, house or garden.
14. And finally, if you want to help other elderly or isolated people in your area there are forms online you can download and post through letterboxes offering help such as this.
For more information and support contact Autumna Free Elderly Care Advice Line
01892 335 330 or visit www.autumna.co.uk