People across the world are practicing social distancing in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and governments are asking people classed as vulnerable to self isolate completely. This includes people with previous health conditions and seniors aged 65+ with health conditions, or anyone aged 70+.
According to Helping Hands, “There are lots of people needing to maintain social distancing in order to keep themselves protected from infection, but many of these people still require additional support to help them live safely at home.” Now more than ever we’re called on to help the most vulnerable in our community as they navigate these trying times.
So whether you have an ageing neighbor, an elderly parent, a grandparent in care or a friend who falls into this category, now is your time to step up and lend a helping (and thoroughly washed) hand. Here are 5 simple ways to provide valuable support.
Put together practical care packages
Whether you’re worried about elderly members of your own family or would simply like to make a gesture and support local care homes in your community, think practically. Household cleaning items will come in handy and can make all the difference when it comes to minimising the risk of contracting the virus. Why not put together a mini care package of antibacterial soap or hand sanitiser, toilet paper, simple cleaning products like bleach and paper towel? Panic buyers may have hoarded supplies making it difficult for others to access them, so if you can, try to rally your street, complex or neighbourhood to donate items that may be in short supply, so they can find their way to those who need them most.
Offer emotional support online or over the phone
“Social distancing” could perhaps be better named “physical distancing” to emphasise that isolation needn’t be total. Those with chronic conditions or elderly people receiving care at a facility or in-home already face the challenge of maintaining a healthy social life. As we all try to manage our mental health and stress levels during the outbreak, dedicate some time for a check-in phone call, or perhaps spend a few hours setting up elderly friends or relatives on chat or messenger platforms so they can connect with others without additional risk to their health. Currently, the postal system has been classed as an essential public service, meaning you can still send letters, post cards or little gifts that are bound to make anyone feel remembered and taken care of.
Share DVDs, games, books or puzzles
While people are increasingly being asked to stay indoors as much as possible in the coming weeks, there are many in our communities who have already been living some form of “lockdown.” The pandemic has caused feelings of uncertainty and insecurity to say the very least, and it’s become vital that we all find creative ways to support our physical and mental health. Help seniors break up monotonous routines or remind them of hobbies and loved ones by sharing photos, interesting books, puzzles or games, or even craft supplies to keep them busy. Spring is coming soon – what about a cheerful houseplant?
Offer to do some grocery shopping or run errands
While many of us are struggling to get hold of groceries, medications or other items, spare a thought for people who may be worried about securing access to chronic medication. Check in with the older people in your life to make sure they have everything they need, and offer to help order and collect prescriptions for them. Looking out for one another in this way can be an immense source of comfort and reassurance. Check also that you’re aware of loved ones’ conditions, the medications they’re on and why, and any doctor’s recommendations. Make sure you understand who to contact in case of emergency – now’s the time to get on the same page with carers or support workers, if applicable.
Be a source of accurate information
Sadly, during times of stress and unpredictability, panic can make people behave in less than helpful ways. Especially seniors unfamiliar with the online world, fear-mongering news stories or social media misinformation can cause distress and even be dangerous. Make sure that you take the time to talk through the facts with elderly loved ones, and share ways they can access neutral, accurate information about the situation as it evolves. What may seem obvious to some may bear explaining or repeating to others, especially if mental health issues or dementia are involved (Download the Australian Government’s Coronavirus app here).
Coronavirus has challenged us all to dig deep, be resourceful, and take care of what really matters. We have a prime opportunity now to think of others and be a source of support where we can – ironically; it’s during these times of social distancing that we need to pull together more than ever.
Are you self-isolating or staying at home during COVID-19? Are you concerned about the wellbeing of a loved one while they self isolate? Watersedge offers remote video counselling so you can receive support and guidance from home.
To book an appointment, contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0442 177 193 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now.