As experts in caring for the elderly and vulnerable, Bluebird Care can be relied upon to offer the best practical advice during the current Covid-19 virus when it comes to how you can help support your loved ones.
The NHS have advised that older people are more likely to become very seriously ill if they catch coronavirus and hence the advice is that vulnerable groups (such as those over the age of 70) should stay at home for 12 weeks. Therefore, there will be many people who will need help more than ever and we’re frequently asked how this can be done, safely.
If you must visit an elderly relative (for an essential reason), be sure to keep your distance. Stay 2m apart (so sadly no hugs or kisses when you arrive and leave) and remember to be diligent with your hand washing hygiene. In addition to hand washing, hand sanitiser gels are also strong recommended.
Staying at home is best but it’s sometimes difficult to know how you can support them without visiting them. Luckily, we’ve pulled together our top 10 suggestions for looking after elderly relatives during the lockdown:
1. Pick up the phone! – Call your loved one to check in on them. And be sure to talk about other things aside from the recent guidance and virus statistics. Talk about TV shows or films you might have watched or what you’ve done in your garden (if you have one) or on a walk or perhaps what funny things the children have been up to.
2. Create a handy helpline list – There’s a great deal of support websites and phone lines available to people – not just the elderly. It might be beneficial to create a list of numbers that they can leave by their phone if they’re struggling or need additional help and support.
3. Encourage them to stay physically active – not an easy task when the guidance is to stay at home but there are lots of ways you can stay active within your home. We’ve prepared an easy guide to help stay fit and healthy during the lockdown – you can read it here. Motivate them by sharing what you’ve been doing yourself. Maybe they could be encouraged to do some chair exercises or lifting some tins of beans a few times a day.
4. Create a rota – perhaps there are other family members who could help check on your relatives. A shared effort is great for everyone’s wellbeing and it helps stay connected.
5. Help organise shopping – for some, the prospect of shopping online can be quite scary. If you’re able to, why not offer to organise the online food shop – discussing with them what they’d like to order and keeping in touch about delivery times. If online shopping isn’t possible, be sure to let them know where shopping help and support is available so they don’t need to leave the house and can stay safe.
6. Be mindful of scams – sadly, we’re seeing an increase in the numbers of people preying on the elderly and vulnerable at this time so it’s a good idea to remind them about never giving their bank or money details over the phone.
7. Green Fingers – take a look at our gardening during lockdown advice (click here). If they do have access to an outside space, gardening is great for mental and physical health. Watering outside plant pots or nurturing windowsill lettuce leaves and salad cress could be a great hobby to get into whilst they’re staying safe at home.
8. Family Calls – if you can, why not encourage them to join in on group calls through the plethora of apps and digital tools we have access to? Even if they don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you could always dial them into a group chat with other family members.
9. Pet playtime – pets might be just what people need to boost morale and offer a sense of purpose.
Get the brain working – there’s a host of different activities that you could encourage your elderly relative to get involved in with apps, websites and printed material to keep the mind working. Crosswords and puzzles offer hours of entertainment and help keep the mind active. If you’re able to, a new puzzle book left on a doorstep whilst you take your daily walk past your relative’s home, makes a lovely surprise for them.
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