If you have elderly relatives, you may be aware that anyone over 70 (whether they have a pre-existing condition or not) falls into the vulnerable category considered at high risk of having a severe or even fatal case of coronavirus COVID-19 should they contract the virus.

For this reason, keeping people in these groups safe is a high priority – but how do you continue to care for your elderly relatives without putting them at risk?

Keep yourself safe

First and foremost, your top concern should be what steps you can take to avoid yourself becoming infected, especially if you are your elderly relative’s primary caregiver.

Official government advice includes:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. You should wash your hands before and after any contact with food, providing care, helping with personal hygiene, coughing or sneezing, and touching surfaces in public places.
  • Use personal protective equipment including gloves and masks where possible when providing care.
  • Keep surfaces that are frequently touched in your home clean – this includes handrails and medical equipment that your elderly relative may use often.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands.

Care & support for elderly relatives

Supporting elderly relatives who need care

If you’re one of the 6.5 million people in the UK who cares for a loved one, you may be understandably worried about continuing to care for a vulnerable relative without putting them at risk.

Currently, you can continue to support and care for elderly relatives during COVID-19. This applies to elderly relatives who need care and support for essential tasks like personal hygiene, meeting medical appointments, taking medication etc.

The key here is that if you – or someone in the same household as you – becomes symptomatic, you should then take the steps necessary to self-isolate and avoid coming into contact with anyone, especially those who fall into the vulnerable category.

In addition, the government is advising carers to create an emergency plan that provides a contingency plan should you no longer be able to provide your usual support due to becoming ill yourself or someone in your household contracting symptoms.

Your emergency plan should include:

  • The name, address, and contact information for the person you care for
  • Details of the medication they take and care required
  • Any medical appointments that need to be kept
  • Any other details on the care they need
  • Contact information for the person or services to contact should you not be able to continue caring for your relative

Additionally, helping your relative to stock up on any medication they might need, reschedule non-essential doctor’s appointments, and making sure they have access to food every day are all ways you can continue to support your relative and keep them safe.

Supporting elderly relatives in the vulnerable category

You may not have an elderly relative who needs care and support, but the current guidelines can still leave many vulnerable people feeling extremely isolated, especially if they are living alone.

While in-person visits are not encouraged, you can still support your relative in a number of ways. This could include:

  • Offering to do their food shopping so they don’t have to go out in public as often
  • Regular calls to check-in on your relative
  • Showing your elderly relatives how to use online technology such as video calls to be able to chat with loved ones
  • Encourage your friends and family to check in on them via phone calls, letters etc to lift their spirits
  • Ensuring they’re up to date with admin tasks, such as renewing their mobility scooter insurance (e.g. Surewise) so they can still get out and about when necessary, and ensuring they’re able to access online banking for bills etc.

Other ways you can help elderly relatives

One of the biggest frustrations of many elderly relatives right now is simply going to be dealing with boredom and isolation.

Thinking of some fun projects your relatives can do to pass the time and still be productive could be one of the best things you can do for them as well as staying in touch via video chat regularly.

A few project ideas could include:

  • Puzzles
  • Going through old photos and creating a family album
  • Scheduling a virtual cooking date where you all cook the same meal together via video chat
  • Other ways they could organize the home – perhaps going through old memorabilia together

If you, anyone in your household, or your elderly relative develop symptoms in line with COVID-19 such as a fever or shortness of breath, call your family doctor or the national helpline (111) immediately for further instructions.

For medical emergencies, call 999.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 830 other subscribers.

Follow us on Twitter