How to care for the elderly during the coronavirus lockdown

Please note: this information has been last updated on 3 June 2020 – please consult government guidelines for the most up-to-date information.

On 23 March 2020 lockdown in the UK began and the lockdown rules were last revised at the start of June. This continues to have a big impact on how we should care for and help the elderly at this time.

Below you can find clear advice about how to care for your elderly loved ones during this period. 

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Elderly care advice FAQ:

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I visit vulnerable elderly relatives to help care for them. Can I continue to do so during the coronavirus lockdown?

Yes – the government has advised that you are still able to provide care or help any vulnerable person if needed and this includes the elderly. If the person you are visiting does not have any caring needs, we recommend not entering their home. However, you can still drop off shopping for them and communicate through a window if possible.

Can I visit other elderly relatives during the coronavirus lockdown?

The government advice is that you can still  provide care or help to a vulnerable person, which does include the elderly. However, due to the possible infection risks, it is recommended you only visit them in their home if it is essential.

You can meet with elderly relatives outdoors or in private gardens if you live in England or Northern Ireland.

If you live in Scotland, two households can meet locally outdoors or in private gardens in groups no larger than eight. In Wales two households can meet outdoors but have been asked not to travel more than five miles.

We understand that many people will be feeling lonely and worried during this period, so please use other forms of communication such as regular phone calls or video chats if possible.

Should my elderly relatives have any non-essential visitors during lockdown?

No, only essential visitors should enter the home of your elderly relatives due to the increased risk this virus has on the elderly generation.

How can you stay in contact with elderly relatives during the coronavirus lockdown if you do not live with them?

Lockdown will be a very lonely and worrying time for many people, specifically the elderly if they live alone. However, as lockdown is easing throughout the UK we are now able to visit our relatives a little more freely than before.  We would encourage you to remember that the elderly are among the most vulnerable, therefore try to limit the number of households visiting at one time and where possible try to remain outside.

If your elderly relative is shielding, and must stay indoors, please continue to contact them through frequent phone calls or video chats etc.

What precautions should I take when making essential visits to elderly people in their home during the coronavirus lockdown?

If you must visit the elderly to help care for them, please ensure you stay at least two meters away from them if possible, no kissing or hugging, wash your hands thoroughly on arrival and when you leave. Also, disinfect any surfaces you may come into contact with, i.e. door handles, countertops, taps etc.

Should I take my elderly relative to existing medical appointments during the coronavirus outbreak?

The government has advised everyone to seek remote medical assistance where possible, either through phone appointments or video calls. However, if you have a scheduled appointment, phone your GP or clinician for specific advice regarding your circumstances before your appointment date.

If I live with a vulnerable elderly person, what should I consider during this period of lockdown?

It is important that people in the household follow government advice and make sure that hygiene and infection control guidelines are followed when they come back into the house. This includes washing hands, cleaning any surfaces they have come in contact with (phone, door handles etc.).

In addition to this it is also advised to speak with your elderly relatives and other household members early, and make a plan together about what to do if anyone in the house develops coronavirus symptoms. For example, how to isolate and protect your elderly relative from this, including in the plan items like how to effectively clean the bathroom after each use particularly if you must share.

Should I take my elderly relatives outside so they can get some exercise during the coronavirus lockdown?

As lockdown is easing it is possible to go for some gentle exercise outside with your loved one. However, elderly people are one of the most at risk demographics and because of this it is advised to stay local and restrict the number of people they see at one time.

Should your elderly relative, have been identified as one of the most at risk, and asked to shield, then it is important for them to remain indoors, until the government advises it is possible to go out for gentle exercise, however please only do this once official advice has been given.

Can I use the time allocated to the vulnerable at supermarkets to do the shopping for my elderly relative?

No, the hours that many supermarkets have set aside are to allow only those who are vulnerable to enter the shop where there is a lowered risk of contamination. Therefore, if you are shopping on behalf of someone else, please use the normal shopping hours.

The NHS are looking to discharge my elderly relative from hospital, what care will they get during the coronavirus lockdown?

For their own health and safety, your loved one may be discharged as soon as it is clinically safe to do so. If your loved one requires care upon discharge, your local authority will offer to help find a care at home service.

Care Sourcer is also working with a number of local authorities to help find suitable care for vulnerable elderly people in need. If you’d like to search yourself, click here and enter your postcode to find home care agencies in your area.

What medical help is available if I become ill, not with coronavirus, during the COVID-19 outbreak?

GPs and hospitals are still open. Should you or an elderly loved one fall ill, you will still receive the medical support required. However, the NHS is trying to manage future capacity at this time, so please consider what level of support you need.

Are hospitals accepting new patients who do not have Coronavirus?

Yes, hospitals are still operating as normal, therefore they are still accepting new patients who require medical attention. 

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