How will you find support for elderly relatives in Dorset during coronavirus?
The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. Age Space understand how stressful taking care of an elderly relative is during this time. This is particularly true if you live a distance away or are unwell yourself. It is difficult to provide the same contact and care as you may usually. The care industry is also under pressure; many carers are off sick or self isolating, and resources are stretched.
This means local response is critical. Fortunately, councils, communities and charities in Dorset have mobilised to form a coordinated Covid-19 response. Volunteers are working together to ensure the elderly and vulnerable have everything they need to stay safe. In this guide, you can find contact details to arrange local support for your elderly relatives living in Dorset during Coronavirus.
Where to find support for your elderly relatives in Dorset during Coronavirus
The two councils in Dorset have the capacity to provide a coronavirus response for the most vulnerable Dorset residents. The service is designed to support: those who have received a letter from the NHS to completely shield; or those who have no other support.
Therefore, if it is possible to get your elderly relative the help they need through the community groups below, this should be the first point of call. Council numbers are however useful for your elderly relative to have in case their support system falls through.
- deliveries of food and other essentials
- advice about food banks
- loneliness and wellbeing support
Dorset County Council
Helpline: 01305 221000, 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
Helpline: 0300 123 7052, 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week
If your elderly relative, is shielding completely, or wants to minimise contact with delivery drivers and volunteers, this poster is useful to print and put in the window.
In Dorset there are two Age UK local branches: North, South and West Dorset; Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset. They normally run face to face services: lunch clubs, foot care and help at home to support the local elderly community. During the pandemic, the branches are diverting resources and are working together with the council and community groups. The contact details below will organise a response to:
- Signposting to advice and information
- Referrals relating to loneliness and isolation
- Support in accessing food, cash and medication
- Support in the home as a direct consequence of self-isolation
North, South and West Dorset
Telephone: 01305 269444
Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset
Telephone: 01202 523 300 (Mon to Fri, 10am – 4pm)
Dorset Citizens Advice continues to provide free, independent and confidential advice to residents. They offer a full range of advice including help with:
- benefits entitlement and claims
- debt management and budgeting
- employment advice including Statutory Sick Pay and rights when laid off work
- advice for the self employed
Contact the Dorset Adviceline on 0344 411 1444 or email your local branch:
- Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole: citizensadvicebcp.org.uk/contact/
- Bridport: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Central (North Dorset, Sherborne, Dorchester, Weymouth & Portland): westdorsetca.org.uk/
- East Dorset: email@example.com
- Purbeck: purbeckadvice.org.uk/contact-us.html
Help and Kindness
Help and Kindness is a network of more than 250 community support groups across Dorset. The network is part of the county-wide team that is responding to Covid-19 in Dorset. You can search the website for localised groups and support by entering ‘Covid’ as a key word and a location.
During this time, the network is sharing an information centre with the North, South and West Age UK hub:
Telephone: 01305 269444
Facebook groups are an increasingly common way local communities communicate. During the pandemic, new local groups have been set up to share resources and offer help to the most vulnerable. We recommend joining a group in your elderly relatives’ local area that is likely to have users who are happy to help. Willing neighbours can bring supplies and check-in on your relative from a safe distance.
- Blandford Covid10 Community Help Group
- Bridport Coronavirus Support
- Bridport Community Support
- Coronavirus Community Help West Dorset
- Dorchester Coronavirus Support Group
- Neighbour to Neighbour Dorchester
- Lyme Regis Community Support
- Covid19 virus Sherborne and West Dorset Community Group
- Coronavirus Help Centre Weymouth Portland Dorchester
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Area
- Covid-19 Community Support Group – Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole
- COVID-19 Supporting Locals, Christchurch &Surrounding areas
- Bournemouth & Poole | COVID-19 Community Help Group
- Poole Covid 19 Community Support Group
Please also take a look at our Age Space guide to Shopping for the Elderly in Coronavirus Self-Isolation.
Although being in the physical presence of your relative is impossible, technology means you can stay in regular contact. This is vital for maintaining mental well being and reducing feelings of anxiety and social isolation.
Relying on technology to communicate does bring some challenges. Therefore, Age Space has put together some simple guides to setting up video-calling on different applications. Please visit our Using Tech in Older Age page.
Dorset Digital Champions
For people who might need help getting Dorset Digital Champions are offering IT support over the phone. Anyone can call the Dorset Digital Hotline with an IT question on 01305 221000 weekdays (excluding Bank Holidays) from 10am to 12noon.