Looking after your loved ones from a distance

We are currently facing uncertain times and in particular how we can protect and care for our older generation. 

If you have an elderly loved one, recent Government measures concerning COVID-19 and the potential for vulnerable groups to go into isolation may require you to support them from a distance.

We all want to help make sure our relatives are safe and happy at home, but these measures could mean that older people feel isolated and lonely. 

What can we do to help?

Ensuring your loved ones are eating nutritious meals which they enjoy is very important. If you don’t live near your elderly relatives, you could ask their neighbours or local elderly support organisations if they could help with getting shopping essentials and food supplies, which they could deliver and leave safely at the door.

Years ago, you may have only been able to call people on the phone, but now there are many ways we can communicate such as Skype, video calls, emails and social media. As loneliness may become a real issue, scheduling regular calls is a great way to ensure contact is frequent. Receiving a phone or video call every day from you, friends and family will give them something enjoyable to look forward to and talking will definitely help! 

The Office for National Statistics found that 83 percent of people aged 65 to 74 had used the internet in 2019. Technology has a lot to offer older people and more and more are now using the internet, mobile phones and smart TV’s and it could be more with your support.

Why not help your loved one set up an online shopping account, or even a Netflix account where they can choose new films and popular TV shows to watch, they can embrace technology and reap the benefits.

Think about things you can suggest to your loved ones to help pass the time during an extended period at home and help keep the brain active whilst social encounters stall for the time being. 

Keeping busy with activities that give them a sense of achievement or break up their routine such as reading, puzzles, online learning and craft projects are just some ideas to help combat boredom and boost their mood. 

Letter writing might be considered old-fashioned by many, but we all love them, so why not send a letter to older family members or friends. This will help them feel connected as well as enjoying writing back to you. 

Maybe on the subject of writing, they could take up a suggestion from Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of The Silver Line, when she recently said, “Write your life story, I am sure that your family would love to know the story of your life which you have always wanted to write down but never quite got round to it.”

If your loved ones are physically fit and active and are missing their normal exercise, fitness or wellness classes, but need to maintain a level of mobility, you could put together an exercise plan with a list of simple things they could do each day. 

If they are savvy with the digital world, they could look for online classes or courses such as Pilates or chair-based exercises which they could use to keep moving.

Useful links

It’s really important for everyone to maintain good hygiene which is a top priority in helping to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus. For more resources about Coronavirus, visit:

NHS

GOV.UK

AgeUK

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