Life After Lockdown - What To Expect?

As the UK starts to lift its lockdown measures, many of us are looking forward to returning to a semi-normal life.  

However, for vulnerable people, such as the elderly, or those with chronic health conditions who have been shielding at home for the last three months, the prospect of less restrictive measures is being somewhat approached with caution.  Despite a decreasing number of cases, Covid-19 is likely to remain a risk for some time.   

Some people may continue to self-isolate to minimise the risk, however for those who would like to resume their normal routine, we take a look at some top tips to help you keep safe and healthy in the coming weeks and months.

Continue to follow social distancing guidelines

Social distancing has been one of the key measures of controlling the virus since day one – keeping at least 2m apart from anyone who is not in your household.  Whilst a few more people are being encouraged to socialise together, these measures will still be in place for a long while to come. 

As people start to venture out again, it would be sensible to be aware of personal space, particularly when in public spaces.   Face masks are currently a personal choice, however the government have advised that if you are in an enclosed space, such as the supermarket, or using public transport, a face covering is advised to try and reduce transmission of the virus.

It's also okay to shy away from physical contact - even with those close to us.  For those who are more vulnerable, the thought of introducing physical contact whether a hug, or simply a handshake will no doubt bring increased anxiety.  It is okay to refrain from this – even with close family members – if it makes you feel uncomfortable.   Let people know your wishes, and respect others who do not want to get too close too.

Maintain good hygiene practice

The importance of personal hygiene, such as regular handwashing, has been drummed into us all for the last few months.  Reducing the spread of germs is vital, not just because of coronavirus, but to minimise the risk of other infections too.  

Thoroughly wash your hands on a regular basis, and especially before eating and if you have been out in public.

Avoid touching your face before you have washed and dried your hands.  

Cough/sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it into a bin.  

Disinfect high touch surfaces in your home.

Handwashing is not always easy when you are out and about, so if you do decide to venture out in public, be vigilant about touching surfaces.  Always keep hand sanitiser with you to use in place of handwashing on these occasions.

Stay at home if you are showing symptoms

The official advice if you are sick has not changed.  Do not go out and put other people at risk.  Do not visit your GP.  If you, or someone that you look after is showing symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, high temperature, loss of taste/smell) you can use the online symptom checker* to determine if you are likely to have coronavirus/are eligible for a test.

Continue to use home deliveries

It  has been notoriously difficult to get home deliveries from some of the major supermarkets, however if you are classed as vulnerable then you should be classed as a priority customer, allowing you to access delivery slots before others.  But it is not just the supermarkets that are offering delivery services – smaller retailers and other restaurants have started to offer home delivery services even if it something that they didn’t do before, and is an ideal time to help support local businesses.  

The pandemic has changed the way that many businesses work, which will not only help their finances in the short term but is a huge advantage to those customers who have been staying indoors, and may continue to do so for some time.

Keep your physical health in check

One of the major downsides of the pandemic has been that sadly, many people have seen routine appointments and treatments cancelled, or have been reluctant to check out any additional health problems that may have arisen over the last few months.

As things start to ease, take the opportunity to keep an eye on your physical health.  Keep in touch with your GP or consultant, book a check up at the dentist.    Clinics have been working hard to ensure they can provide a safe space for patients so they can receive the care that they need.

Take things slowly

The last few months have been anything but normal so a complete return to your old life and routine is going to take some time, and for many people it will be totally overwhelming.   Where possible try to spread things out and introduce a phased return to ‘normality’ if this makes you feel more comfortable. 

If you are worried about specific things such as facing large crowds of people, then try to tackle these challenges one at a time.  If you have been shielding, the thought of going out in public will be daunting at first.  Why not go out early in the morning or later in the evening when there is less people around – this will get you used to the feeling of being out without worrying about how to tackle social distancing on top of this.  Remember this is not a race - take things step by step at a pace that feels comfortable to you.

Help is available

Just because contact is still going to be limited, does not mean that you must go through things alone.  Help is there if you need it.
The pandemic has shown the increasing need for the right support at home for the elderly and the most vulnerable in our communities. 

Our CAREGivers can offer a range of services that will help to keep clients safe and well, offer companionship and encourage people to retain safe links with the local community whether through social distancing or the use of technology.

If you or a loved one needs support at home and would like to find out how Home Instead can help, please get in touch.

*Symptom checker for Wales only.  If you are in England please use this link.