The coronavirus outbreak has turned daily life in the UK upside down. To the greatest extent for the elderly and vulnerable; daily tasks such as shopping, walking the dog or collecting medicines are now deemed dangerous.
With non-essential travel banned, it is difficult to provide the same contact and care to elderly parents. This is especially true if you live a distance away or are unwell yourself. 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 Hampshire have mobilised to form networks of support. 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 help for your elderly relative living in Hampshire, during this difficult time.
If you are a Facebook user, we also recommend joining: HAMPSHIRE COVID-19 SUPPORT GROUP and Corona Virus Community Support, Hampshire, to share resources and ideas with others around keeping elderly members of the community safe.
Remember if your concern is urgent and medical, call the NHS on 111 or 999 in the case of emergencies. For more general information about looking after elderly parents, please visit Age Space’s Coronavirus FAQs.
Where to find Coronavirus Support for your Relatives in Hampshire
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, there are 3 key community groups that have re-organised resources and mobilised volunteers to provide help during the crisis. If your elderly relative does not already receive help/engage with one of the community groups below, contact details are provided to enroll them. All support offered is free of charge and carried out whilst adhering to social guidance around minimising risks of exposure.
Good Neighbours Network
The Good Neighbours Network with 120 hubs across Hampshire continue to offer support during these challenging times. As usual ‘good neighbours’ are matched with those in need in local hubs, part of the wider Network. During the pandemic, this help includes:
- Delivering shopping
- Collecting and delivering medicines
- Walking dogs
- Befriending remotely through telephone/Skype calls
- Helping set up tech (explaining instructions on the telephone)
- Sharing online activities and ideas to stay busy and connected
Get in touch with your elderly relative’s local hub using the contact details directory. Some hubs have also set up a food donation points in the community for those struggling during these times.
Age Concern Hampshire
Age Concern Hampshire are redesigning the way they work and setting up new services to offer as much help as possible during the pandemic. Services Age Concern are providing include:
- Delivering food parcels
- Shopping services
- Delivering pre-prepared meals
- Prescription collection and delivery
- Well being calls
- Carer’s well being calls
Age Concern have also mobilised their workforce (including take on volunteers) to expand Telephone/Email Information Services which now operate Mon-Fri 9am-4pm. This means you can call for advice, or to request help for a relative you are worried about.
Telephone: 0800 328 7154
Age UK Isle of Wight
On the Isle of Wight, Age UK are the biggest community group providing help during the crisis. The charity are already integrated into the local health and social care system. They are working together with such services, to sustain as much vital support for elderly local people. Resources are being maximised in 3 main areas:
- Prescription collection and delivery
- Telephone or digital befriending, and well being check ins
To access this, or other support for your relative, contact 01983 525282 to register details.
Each council has set up their own helpline for frail or vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community. The council can then provide urgent assistance with practical issues such as supplying food, household essentials or collecting medication. The council can deliver essentials boxes containing bread, long-life milk, fruit etc. to those in desperate need.
Please note, that the council service is in place for more the most vulnerable and isolated only. Therefore, if you can organise help through community schemes, this is primarily the way forward. Nevertheless, the helplines below are worth your relative noting, in case their support system falls through.
Hampshire County Council
Helpline (Hantshelp4vulnerable): 0333 370 4000 (7 days a week, 9am to 5pm).
Portsmouth City Council
Helpline: 023 9268 8004 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
Southampton City Council
Helpline: 023 8083 4800 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).
The Southampton helpline also help with financial queries and issues, over council tax and rent.
Isle of Wight Council
Helpline: 01983 823 600 (7 days a week, 9am to 5pm).
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.