Supporting people coming out of shielding

From 1 August, The Department of Health announced that the 2.2 million people on the shielding list in England will no longer be advised to shield. Although people on the shielding list should continue to remain home ‘as much as possible’ and of course local lockdown situations may change, shielding people can now visit shops and other public venues whilst continuing to adhere to strict social distancing measures.

Martin Jones, CEO of Home Instead UK, said: “As we know, this has been quite a difficult time for everyone, but we are happy that we have been able to continue to support vulnerable members of the community throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“Finding new systems to get through autumn is going to be so important for those who have been shielding since March. People will be moving from a life of lockdown to re-engaging with community, and many are feeling anxious and nervous about going out again.

“We want people who have been staying home to feel confident to go out again if their local area lockdown restrictions allow it. We want to share a few tips to help make this transition as smooth as possible for those that have been shielding, yet are keen to feel a new sense of normality.”

Here are some tips for those coming out of shielding*

*Remember to check the latest guidelines on lockdown restrictions in your area.

  1. Go slowly. Take things at your own pace. Don’t do things you don’t feel comfortable with, but try not to let that be an excuse not to push yourself, especially when it comes to reconnecting with friends and family safely, outside your home, when the time is right for you.
  2. Spend time and talk to people you trust. It's normal to feel a bit worried or scared about the current situation and it is important to spend time with people and talk about how you feel. Remember not to dismiss your concerns or judge yourself too harshly.
  3. Do something you enjoy. Now might be a good time to visit your favourite park or café. Many venues have a booking system in place, such as the National Trust, in which the number of people allowed to visit at any given time is limited. This will make keeping a safe social distance more feasible and could give you more peace of mind. It might also help to choose an off-peak time to visit your favourite place when you know it won’t be too crowded.
  4. Build up tolerance. Try doing something that challenges you, but don’t worry if it doesn’t go as planned, but keep at it. Keep a mental note of things you’ve achieved, enjoyed or surprised yourself doing, as this will help build your confidence in doing more when you are ready. 
  5. Bring things that are certain back into focus. Whilst a lot of things continue to remain uncertain, there are also things to be hopeful about. Try to appreciate good things as they happen, even if they seem simple. Try and take opportunities to reset and relax.
  6. Handwashing and respiratory hygiene. The guidance on preventing the spread of infections will not change once you come out of shielding so make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and always cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue safely in a bin and wash your hands.

The team at Home Instead has been working hard to help people stay safe and happy in their family home, living in their community during COVID-19.

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