These are our top tips for creating a very local shield around elderly parents/ relatives in isolation. With luck your elderly parents and relatives are being scooped up by neighbours and locals if you’re a distance away.
And if they are one of the 1.5 million particularly vulnerable people identified for isolation, hopefully they will be supported by the network emerging between local authorities, Govt and retailers.
These are our top tips for creating that shield around elderly parents/ relatives in isolation from Coronavirus.
Connecting with the street and community
- Contact the neighbours to see if there is a local email/Whatsapp/phone group that you/your parents can join
- Some streets/areas are dividing up into groups of eg 5 homes, a smaller tighter unit for people to help each other – swap email/phone numbers and keeping in regular touch
- Tell neighbours/locals what your parents need and start to make a timetable – weekly shop/monthly meds/daily chat at 2m distance – and try and establish a routine
- Sign up for www.nextdoor.co.uk using your parents address to access local information
- #viralkindness is a brilliant postcard that can be photocopied and distributed among streets and communities – to connect those needing help with those happy to help
- BBC local radio stations are establishing local resources so it would be worth tuning in to the local one to your parents
Protecting parents during isolation
There are some unscrupulous people who will take advantage of these difficult times and unfortunately there are already some Coronavirus scams doing the rounds. Our best advice is to ask a neighbour to become your parents’ “buddy”, someone who is happy to field doorstep visitors if your parents are unsure/don’t know who is calling.
If you’re worried about your parents not having enough food or medication or needing medical attention there is a colour coded card scheme that would work for the whole street: red card in the front window means “I need help – food/meds/other”, and a green card means “I’m ok”. (A rainbow card in the window is by children to cheer us all up:).
Perhaps there should also be an amber card or something that can be swapped in with the green card over a period of time to ensure that inhabitants are indeed still ok.
Ideas for local community spirit
Once everyone is connected, perhaps you can encourage more than “needs must” communications, which might also help your parents keep busy…… bake a cake for the street, or a regular bread order perhaps….. start a book club; or how about a regular – at distance – street tea party…..
There will doubtless be some incredible local schemes emerging over the coming weeks and months. Let us know what solutions you come across – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .