How to care for the elderly during the coronavirus lockdown
Please note: this information has been last updated on 25th September 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 have been revised multiple times since then, most recently in September 2020. These changes continue 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 this phase of the coronavirus lockdown?
Yes. Despite the current restrictions that are in place throughout the UK on entering the homes of others, the government has advised that you are still able to provide care or help any vulnerable person if needed and this includes the elderly.
Can I visit other elderly relatives during this phase of the coronavirus lockdown?
The rules for this vary slightly depending on where you live.
- In England you are still able to visit other people’s homes provided there are no more than 6 people in the home at a given time, unless this is specifically required for caregiving.
- In Scotland, unless you need to visit your elderly relative to assist with caregiving, you should not enter their home. Instead it is recommended to meet outdoors or in a restaurant in groups of no more than 2 households (6 people).
We understand that many people will be feeling lonely and worried during this period, so encourage you to stay in regular contact with loved ones. If you’re not able to visit, try other forms of communication such as regular phone calls or video chats.
Should my elderly relatives have any non-essential visitors during this phase of lockdown?
Based on government advice, if your relatives live in England they are still allowed to have visitors in their home, although no more than 6 people in total.
In Scotland, only essential caregivers should enter the home of your elderly relatives. However, you can meet outdoors or in a local restaurant in groups of no more than 2 households (6 people).
How can you stay in contact with elderly relatives during the recent phase of coronavirus lockdown if you do not live with them?
As restrictions due to Coronavirus continue to evolve it is important to stay in contact with your loved ones, and remember that this can be a very worrying and lonely time for people, especially the elderly.
If you are not able to visit people in line with the most recent restrictions it is our recommendation to continue to have frequent catch ups on the phone of through video chats.
What precautions should I take when making essential visits to elderly people in their home during the current phase of the coronavirus outbreak?
As the elderly are among the most vulnerable we recommend that you be extra cautious when visiting them. Please try to remain 2 meters away from them if possible, no kissing or hugging.
If you are entering their home to assist with caregiving or are living in England where you are still able to meet indoors, we advise you wash your hands thoroughly on arrival and when you leave.
Should I take my elderly relative to existing medical appointments during the coronavirus outbreak?
Yes. Hospitals and GP surgeries are now operating as normal, so please attend all appointments.
Should your relative feel uncomfortable going into these settings during the outbreak, we recommend calling in advance to see if a phone or video appointment would be possible.
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, this includes wearing a mask and washing hands.
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 still be taking my elderly relatives outside so they can get some exercise during the recent phase of the coronavirus lockdown?
Yes. There is no restrictions on exercising outside, although please remember to stick to your local government guidelines:
- In Scotland no more than 2 households (up to 6 people) meeting at once
- In England no more than 6 people meeting at one time
What medical help is available if I become ill, not with coronavirus, during this time?
GPs and hospitals are still open. Should you or an elderly loved one fall ill, you will still receive the medical support required.