Supporting friends, neighbours and family during the UK lockdown
With many older and vulnerable people being told to “shield” or “social-distance” at home, what can you do to help look after the mental and physical wellbeing of your loved ones living in a different household during the UK lockdown?
The spread of coronavirus has caused a nationwide lockdown in the UK, with the Government urging everyone to stay at home unless they are going out for essential work, food or health reasons. This lockdown is confirmed to be in effect for the next few weeks at least and will, more than likely, continue in the months to come.
The good news is, there are still ways in which you can support older or more vulnerable friends, neighbours and family during the UK lockdown. Although the Government strongly advises against anyone socially visiting older and vulnerable people at this time, it is acceptable to collect and drop off vital supplies – such as food shopping or medicines. Remember to always follow social distancing guidelines when delivering supplies e.g. leave any items at their front door. For the latest advice on how to help others safely please follow the guidance set out by the UK Government.
Getting the essentials
Make sure you regularly check that your friends, neighbours or family members living in a different household, have the essentials they need throughout the lockdown. This is particularly important for those who are living alone. You could help them set up an account for online shopping so they can have food delivered or, if this is not an option, deliver shopping to their door.
If they take frequent medication, you might consider talking to them about setting reminders or getting a tablet organiser. This could be a simple weekly pill box or a pill dispenser with an alarm. Check in with them to ensure they have enough of their medication, and make sure they have contacted their doctor to discuss any upcoming appointments.
Staying in contact
Picking up the phone and having a chat will mean a lot to those people who are living on their own during this time.
When you do contact a friend or relative, dedicate your full attention to the conversation. Even if you can only chat for five minutes it will show them that you care and are listening. This can have a hugely positive impact if the lockdown is causing them to feel lonely.
It may be worth asking how they prefer to stay in contact e.g. regular messaging in the day time or a daily video call. You might decide to organise calls throughout the week so you have a longer time put aside to chat.
Telecare products include devices such as personal alarms and security systems that call for help if an emergency happens at home. If you are concerned about an older or more vulnerable friend, neighbour or family member who is living alone, we have personal alarms, such as the Auto Dialling Emergency Alarm which includes a pendant that can be worn around their neck. This enables them to call for help at the touch of a button – ideal if, for example, they have had a fall and can’t get back up.
If the person you know has any virtual assistant technology, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, try and set this up so they can call you just by giving a voice command to the device. If they have an Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad, they can use the built-in virtual assistant called Siri to call you through voice command.
Staying confident and comfortable
If you care about someone who is living alone, you will want to be sure they are happy and safe during the lockdown. Try to have a serious discussion with them about their daily tasks and make sure they are confident doing everything they need to – from going to the toilet to reaching food in the cupboard. If they are unsure about something, you could suggest ways they could easily adapt their home or find products that might be able to assist them.
We have a wide range of daily living aids that can help with a variety of tasks to keep people feeling confident at home. Products like our Combi Grabber are versatile and help those who find it difficult to bend to pick up items that are hard to reach. If you are concerned that the lockdown may disrupt the normal routine of a friend or family member, causing them to become disoriented at home, we have a range of simple clocks, such as the Digital Calendar Clock, that tell you the day of the week and the date, as well as the time.
We also have a whole host of other Household Aids that you can browse online.
Keeping spirits high
Sending videos, photos or even something in the post is a great way to keep older family member’s spirits up if you live apart. If you are doing activities or crafts for Easter at your own house, you could encourage younger family members to make them something.
Talk to your friend, neighbour or family member about their hobbies and see if they have found any new interests. You could look in to ordering something for them online, such as a jigsaw or book, and have it delivered to their home.
Are the people you care about eating well and staying active? Getting the right nutrients and doing physical activities will help to support their physical and mental wellbeing during the lockdown. If you are delivering food to a neighbour, friend or relative, you could call them to talk over some recipe ideas together so you can get the right ingredients for healthy meals that they enjoy. If it’s a dry day, and they have some outdoor space, encourage them to get some fresh air and do some gentle exercise outdoors. If they used to go to a sports club before the lockdown was introduced, you could discuss ways they could adapt this activity for the time being so they can continue to stay active at home.
Please always remember that, in this time of lockdown, it is vital to follow the two-metre social distancing rule and deliver any supplies to your family’s door. We understand this is a difficult time for many people, and those who are on their own will be eager to see their family and friends, but is it important we are all vigilant in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
To find out more about the government guidelines concerning coronavirus and social distancing please visit the government website.
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