The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is a scary time for everybody, but especially for older people and their carers. Collecting prescriptions, walking the dog, buying food: these tasks have all just become more difficult for older people who cannot or do not feel able to leave the house, or who usually depend on family and carers who cannot help them at the moment.
Age Space has gathered together the information that you as a carer need to best support those whom you look after. We can offer comprehensive advice, as well as our free Coronavirus guide covering everything you need to know about Coronavirus. You can also look at Age Space’s Coronavirus FAQs to see if any of your specific concerns have been addressed.
There has been an incredible response to the crisis in Kent, with an enormous number of volunteer groups being mobilised to ensure that the vulnerable and elderly populations are being looked after. Kent County Council, the NHS, established local volunteering groups and the District and Borough councils are all working together to make sure that everybody is supported. This page will guide you through how to find and access support local to your relatives.
- Where to Find Coronavirus Support in Kent
- Isolation Health and Wellbeing in Kent
- Getting Connected Online
Where to Find Coronavirus Support in Kent
Kent County Council and the local councils are working together to ensure that elderly and vulnerable people are able to get the food, supplies, medicine and contact they need. The community hubs and volunteer groups that can are able to provide help in your elderly relatives’ local areas are outlined below.
As well as the help the councils listed below, we would recommend searching for Coronavirus Facebook support groups in your elderly relatives’ local area that might be able to help bring supplies and check-in on your relative from a safe distance.
Kent County Council
If your elderly relative is vulnerable and needs urgent support that cannot otherwise be provided, you should contact the 24-hour Kent Together on 03000 41 92 92. They are able to help with making sure your relative has enough food and supplies, collecting prescriptions, taking out the bins, having somebody to talk to and more. Alternatively you cancontact Kent Together through filling in this Online Form, where you are able to outline the help your relative needs.
Kent County Council also have information on their website in regard to any changes to Adult Social Care, which you can find here in their Coronavirus FAQs. This includes information about visiting care homes and the status of meals-on-wheels services, that will be updated as the situation continues.
Support is being organised by the district and borough councils across Kent, to increase the efficiency of the help that is provided. To find out about the support available in your relative’s local area, you should look at the website of the local council which is responsible for your relative’s care.
Information about community support for people in each council in Kent can be found below, as well as links to the local District and Borough council websites. It is important to bear in mind that these resources are primarily for vulnerable people that have nobody else who is able to help them.
Ashford Borough Council has put together a very useful map of community and voluntary groups, and their contact details, so you can make direct contact with local volunteers and groups that are able to help older people.
Visit Ashford Borough Council Website
Canterbury City Council have set up a community hub to help local people. You can request support from their Community Hub website, or you can call them on 01227 868 598.
Visit Canterbury City Council Website
The Dover District Community Hub are offering help to those who are self-isolating and have nobody else to assist them get food and supplies. You can contact them on 01304 821 199 or by emailing email@example.com.
Visit Dover District Council Website
Gravesham Borough Council are working with North West Kent Volunteer Centre to get essential food and medicine supplies to vulnerable people. You can register for their help the Gravesham Council website or call 03000 419 292.
Visit Gravesham Borough Council Website
Folkestone and Hythe
Folkestone and Hythe District Council have set up dedicated phoneline (01303 761116) and email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) which you can contact to be redirected to the relevant community hubs in Folkestone and Hythe that can help your relatives.
Visit Folkestone & Hythe District Council Website
You can contact the Maidstone community hub on 0300 303 1650. They can help with food, shopping, prescriptions and means of combatting loneliness.
Visit Maidstone Borough Council Website
Medway council are running a personal shopping service for vulnerable people with nobody else to help them. This service can assist with food, supplies and medicine. You can contact them by email at email@example.com.
Visit Medway Council Website
Volunteers in Sevenoaks can help with shopping and other small tasks for older and vulnerable people. You can organise help from them by calling 01732 227000 or by registering on the Sevenoaks District Council website.
Visit Sevenoaks District Council Website
You can contact the Swale Community Support Helpline on 01795 417525 to organise delivery of food and supplies for people who are over 70, who have an underlying health condition or who are self-isolating.
Visit Swale Borough Council Website
You can contact the Thanet council’s helpline who are able to assist people in the community with shopping and supplies if there is nobody else that can help them. You can call them on 01843 577330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Thanet District Council Website
Tonbridge and Malling
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council have set up a helpline for helping people who are vulnerable and are otherwise unable to get food and supplies. They have also set up a telephone befriending scheme for people who are lonely. You can contact them by calling 01732 876152, or register on the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council website.
Visit Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Website
If somebody is vulnerable and unable to receive help from friends or family then they can apply for help here from the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website. This support includes food deliveries and phonecalls for people who are lonely.
Visit Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Website
Isolation Health and Wellbeing in Kent
It is important to look after the mental and physical health of people who are not able to leave the house.
One of the best things your relatives can do while in isolation is exercise in order to keep busy and stay in good health. We have listed below some places that your older relatives could look in order to help plan some exercises at home, or locally in Kent. You should also check out Age Space’s Best Home Exercises for the Elderly.
The Activity Alliance have put together some helpful online resources on how to keep mobile at home for people with disabilities or long-term health condition.
If you visit the Kent Sport website you will find links to exercise and mobility suggestions that are suitable for older people trying to keep mobile at home.
Kent Adult Education
Kent Adult Education are running a new series of online courses on all manner of things, from arts and crafts, to writing workshops, to learning a new language. These courses can be taken from the comfort of your relative’s home, and be a great way of keeping busy and feeling connected.
Explore Kent have a useful Activity Map, which can help your relative’s to find their nearest park for a daily walk. A daily walk is a good way of getting exercise, clearing the mind and getting some fresh air, but it must be done safely and while practising social distancing.
Involve are running ‘Safe and Well’, a telephone befriending service for vulnerable and isolated people in West Kent, including Maidstone, Tonbridge & Malling, Borough Green, the Weald, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and parts of Dover and Folkestone. To request their services for your relative you can call them on 03000 81005 (option 5) or email them at email@example.com
It is, of course, very important to stay in regular contact with your elderly relative. This is crucial in regards to checking in on their physical health, but also to minimise any feelings of isolation and loneliness. This means that there is a greater dependence of technology in order to communicate.
Not all older people find technology easy to use. That’s why Age Space has put together a number of great guides to Using Tech in Older Age! With these guides your elderly relatives can feel confident with technology – including video calling applications such as Skype and Whatsapp, and suggestions for keeping entertained online.