Social distancing is something which all households have had to learn very quickly, and the government’s plea to ‘stay home, protect the NHS and save lives’ has been rapidly adopted.
But for vulnerable people and families, social distancing has led to new challenges which make life even harder. Lonely older people now have even less contact with others, and disadvantaged families are struggling to provide extra meals and home-schooling.
Two of the charities that the MCF is working in partnership with, Age UK and Home-Start, have provided some guidance and information to continue supporting older people and families with young children.
With more than 8.5 million older people already feeling lonely or isolated, social distancing can exacerbate existing difficulties and make tackling loneliness that bit harder.
Thankfully, Age UK exists to help older people when they need it most – whatever the global climate. Their dedicated webpage includes information on coronavirus; top tips to stay safe and well at home; and five ways people can support older people during this crisis.
We’ve pulled out a few key pieces of advice to help you through:
Make a list of essentials
Age UK recommends you make a list of the things you need day to day, including food, medicine, and household essentials to help you keep track and ensure you always have these at home. Don’t forget to include any items you need to continue hobbies or interests at home – these are also important! If you have food or medicine delivered to your home, it may take longer than expected so by planning ahead you can avoid running low. If you’re worried about running out of medication, speak to your pharmacist.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to call on your neighbours or family members to help you with food shopping or collecting medicine. Even if you don’t know your neighbours very well, community spirit is high and those who are less vulnerable are coming together to support those who need it most. If you live rurally, or don’t feel comfortable asking neighbours for help, get in touch with your local Age UK branch for advice on how to access support.
Whilst the majority of people are genuine, there may be some who try and take advantage of this situation for their own gains. To protect yourself against telephone or door-to-door scams, feel confident to follow the following advice:
- Don’t ever feel pressured to accept help, if you don’t feel comfortable.
- Do not hand over payment or give away bank details to someone who’s offering to help – this should be done free of charge.
- If someone does your shopping, ask for a receipt so you can pay them to cover the cost of the items once they’ve been given to you.
- Ask for more information about people you don’t know – where do they live and how can you contact them?