Helping The Elderly Through Coronavirus
The Pandemic caused by Covid-19 is moving forward faster than perhaps anyone could have imagined. As we deal predominantly with the elderly, who are most at risk, we have created a guide for steps you should take when visiting the elderly and what you can do to help them should they need to self-isolate or be quarantined.
Before we start, the most important point to make is that you should only visit your elderly friend or relative if you’re sure that you don’t have any of the symptoms laid out in the Government guidelines. If you do have symptoms then DON’T visit – follow the Government guidelines and wait.
You should be taking precautionary measures when visiting the elderly at all times, but the following is especially important at the moment:
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds when you arrive especially after you have been in a public place.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the used tissue in the bin and again immediately wash your hands with soap and water or a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- If you have access to a facemask then wear it, but facemasks are in short supply and should be prioritised for caregivers wherever possible.
Although we have already said to be very careful when visiting an elderly friend and relative, it’s important to visit them if you can because contact is so important. We have talked in a previous article about loneliness in old age so maintaining as much social interaction and companionship can really help.
As our Manager, Wendy Ryan explains: “We will continue to provide care for our clients for as long as we can because of the vital service we provide especially as many of our clients rely on us for companionship as well as everything else we do for them. All our fantastic staff are extremely careful to follow our guidelines for safely providing care in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
We are compiling a list of clients, who rely on the social side of what we do as much as the practical. As this is a particularly difficult time for family that are working, or away, we are calling some clients every day as a welfare check and then passing any concerns on to their families
We offer this already to family who go away on holiday as our client’s families appreciate having another person looking out for a loved one, so this just seemed something we can do, and in these times anything we can do, however small helps!
Although this is a situation nobody wants to be in, we can really see people pulling together with everyone rallying round one another!”
Checklist for self-isolating essentials
One of the hot topics in the news over the weekend was that the over 70s will at some point be asked to stay at home for potentially as long as 4 months. To be prepared, we have compiled a list of essentials you can make sure an elderly friend or relative has. And if you’re thinking of ordering online then we would suggest putting an order in ASAP as online retailers such as Ocado are being inundated with orders.
- Medicines – if you know someone over 70 who is reliant on any medication then now is the time to make sure they have more than enough!
- Toiletries – the nation has gone toilet paper buying mad but this is still important to have, along with soap, washing up liquid and detergent.
- Food – this is an important one as nobody really knows what’s going to happen with food supplies so we would suggest the following essentials for the elderly:
- Dry goods – Foods like pasta, rice, cereal, beans etc. won’t spoil and are therefore extremely important.
- Canned food – Although many prefer fresh fruit and vegetables, canned alternatives will last. Something like canned soups are great to have in a situation like this.
- Frozen food – A fully stocked freezer is a good idea!
- Drinks – If your elderly friend or relative just can’t do without their morning cuppa then make sure they have plenty of tea and coffee!
- Water – Although it probably won’t come to this and we should all have at least access to clean drinking water, a couple of weeks supply of bottled water certainly wouldn’t do any harm.
Activities while self-isolating
Staying active is incredibly important for the elderly, as we covered in a previous article. If you know someone elderly self-isolating or who will be quarantined, then here are some tips to help them keep fit and healthy in both body and mind:
- Look online – As we covered in a previous blog, more and more elderly people are now using the internet regularly so why not go online and find an online exercise class that they can do in their own home?
- Art – Although less for physical reasons, our friends at Birchwood House demonstrated the importance of art & craft for the elderly so this is the ideal activity to keep the mind active during self-isolation.
- Fitness equipment – Something like an exercise bike or treadmill could be a very good investment for an elderly friend or relative. They can get exercise without having to leave the house!
- Stay connected – As well as using online exercise classes, elderly people who are quarantined can use technology to stay connected to the outside world. Whether this is watching television, looking at the news or speaking with friends or relatives.
- Stock up – Make sure they have plenty of books, magazines, puzzle books, cross-stitch or whatever they like doing!
- Music & Films – Have a collection of favourite CDs and music readily available!
- Gardening – Buy some plants/bulbs/seeds so they can get the garden spring-ready if they are able to. Gardening also allows for fresh air and exercise!
As well as the above, you can help if your elderly friend or relative is in self-isolation by staying in contact with them. Although you may not be able to see them in person, you can still call or even face-time so they can see your face. And encourage grandchildren to do the same. A video call with a grandchild may well help a grandparent get through a tough and otherwise lonely day!
More advice needed?
We hope this guide is useful and gets you thinking about what you can do to help support an elderly friend or relative in these difficult times, but if you’re not sure where to turn and need further help or guidance then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on 01892 863 710 who will do what we can to help answer any questions you may have.
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