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Reducing isolation for elderly parents during Coronavirus

Reducing isolation for elderly parents during Coronavirus

Last updated 24th September

From local authority community services 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 during the Coronavirus pandemic – particularly those a distance away from their 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.

Protecting 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, though it is recommended that as few people as possible are in contact with older people.. 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 when you are not there..

You are only able to visit your elderly relatives in their home, if they are a part of your support bubble. If they are classed as vulnerable, you should maintain social distancing and wear a mask. 

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 1m “social distance” – no kissing or handshaking:(
  • Keep hand sanitiser by the front door

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 was an extraordinary surge in neighbourliness during the first lockdown and we’re sure this will resurrect. 

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 regular call times 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, Whatsapp and Houseparty services are also good for group video 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I visit my elderly parents in their home?

Only if they are a part of your support bubble or childcare bubble. If they are vulnerable we advise you maintain social distancing and wear a mask. 

Can I take shopping to my elderly Dad who lives at home on his own?

Yes. You can take shopping to him but please ensure you observe the social distancing rules in the shops. Unless you are part of his support bubble, you must leave his shopping on 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 care support in to help that would be best and they will be well versed in social distancing regulatons. If you decide to go and care for them yourself, you will be expected to shield/self isolate to protect them. This is a big decision to make and you will need to organise extra support for example with food deliveries. 

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 NHS 111 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. Read more information on getting the best care in hospital. 

Can I form a support bubble with my parents?

At least one household in a support bubble must be a single-adult household (living alone). This means that if you live alone, you can form a support bubble with two parents. Alternatively, if one of your parents lives alone then you can form a support bubble with them, irrelevant of the size of your own household.

If you are in a support bubble then you do not need to maintain social distancing with the other household. You cannot change your support bubble, or see people from outside the support bubble unless you are socially distanced. For more details, you can read the Government Guidelines to Support Bubbles.