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Reducing isolation for elderly parents during Coronavirus

Reducing isolation for elderly parents during Coronavirus

Last updated 4th April

From the NHS’s new army of community voluteers for our most vulnerable older people, to street email groups and national charities providing services, there is lots of support for elderly parents and relatives in isolation and a distance away from family.   

supporting isolated parents during coronavirus

We will be adding to this page regularly.  For now we have outlined some of the key organisations to contact, and practical things to set up/get involved with. 

If you don’t live near your parents these are all things that you and they can do to support both communities.

Shielding your parents during coronavirus

In normal your times you may already have a lovely network of help and support for your parents. Hopefully this will continue throughout this time. Identify a neighbour/person locally who could become your “proxy” – someone who can keep an eye out and help with shopping, meds, and other needs.

Unfortunately regular visits by anyone other than key carers is not now possible. But there are lots of other options.

Carers can continue to visit if they carry out daily tasks such as bathing, washing and food preparation. But they must follow the distancing rules: regular handwashing, wearing masks and gloves if necessary. For more general visits, please remind your parents to:

  • Remember the 2m “social distance” – no kissing or handshaking:(
  • Keep hand sanitiser by the front door
  • Chat across the doorstep but don’t invite people inside
  • Covid-19 does not according to the Scientists survive or thrive on packages and parcels – but don’t take risks – wipe down or leave for a while before handling

Connecting elderly parents with their local community

Viral Kindness  is the postcard that you can download and print to share with neighbours and others in the local community.  Those in need can tick boxes for dog walking, shopping or a phone call; and those who can help tick similar boxes.  A brilliant and super easy way to start to build a community of support and help. is an online neighbourhood network which you can join using your postcode and address to find the most relevant group to you.  You can also join other locations – such as your parents or relatives.  In non-coronavirus times this is where you find recommended local plumbers, babysitters or share local info about tree-cutting or rubbish collecting.

You can join local facebook/whatsapp groups on your parents behalf if necessary; local shops are posting about delivery services, individuals offering to go shopping or collecting medication etc. There is an extraordinary surge in neighbourliness which is really worth tapping in to.

nextdoor service during coronavirus

The Silver Line is a charity set up by Esther Rantzen to combat loneliness among the elderly.  They provide Telephone Friendship –  volunteers make weekly calls to older people who have registered with them.  They have a service called Silver Connects  providing guidance when someon has a problem and helping them to access local resources and services.

Age UK is the national charity supporting older people.  At the time of writing we understand they are setting up local delivery and phone call services for older people. We don’t know the extent of these yet, but perhaps make contact with the local Age UK close to your parents/relatives.

Keeping elderly parents connected with family and friends

Skype group –  You can create different family/friend/local groups.   Set up times of calls so everyone knows when to be online.  You might even set up times when you’re all connected to Skype but it’s more in the background such as when cooking or eating dinner  – so you can just chat away as if you were all in the same room – in a vaguely normal manner!

skype groups during coronavirus

Your parents can delegate you access to help them set up Skype call or a group meeting on the platform.

Facetime and Messenger services are also good for group chats.  Or you could use any number of online video conferencing facilities – but many are not free, and it can be a bit of a palaver joining calls, adding pin numbers etc.

Can I visit my elderly parents during the isolation period?

You can visit them, but you are advised not to go into their home. You can wave from the path/front but no more than that unfortunately. Perhaps rather than visit you can set up video/skype/whatsapp calls so that they get to see you albeit by screen.

Can I take shopping to my elderly dad who is on his own at home?

Yes. You can take shopping to him but please ensure you observe the social distancing rules in the shops. And leave his shopping in the doorstep.

If you are his primary carer and are able to go into his home – please also observe social distancing including washing your hands and wiping down surfaces. The elbow wave works quite well:(

Mum has had a fall. Dad is now looking after her. I don’t know what to do?

If you can get local support in to help that would be best – as long as they observe social distancing. If you decide to go and care for them then you will have to self isolate for the duration. This is a big decision to make.

What do I do if my parents have symptoms of Coronavirus?

If your parents exhibit the symptoms such as high temperature and a new dry cough, they/you should call NHS111 for further advice and information. If you feel it is an emergency, then of course you should contact 999.

If you need to prepare them to go into hospital, you and they need to make a list of their medication, to pack a small bag (pyjamas, toothbrush, glasses etc) and to also make a list of family/friends with contact details.

As more services appear we will update this list.

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