How to support your older loved ones living at home
19th March 2020
It’s a particularly strange time, fraught with stress about the health and wellbeing of our loved ones, and the uncertainty of what’s to come next.
What we do know, is that there are key steps you can take to look after and protect your older, more vulnerable loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your older mother, father, friend or relative lives at home,
Here are some things you can do to support them to avoid getting sick:
- Avoid physical contact – even if you do not feel unwell. COVID-19 spreads very easily, so the safest thing is to stay at least 1.5metres from your loved one. Unfortunately this means no kissing, hugging, handshakes or physical displays of affection – however you can verbally show your love and support.
- If you are to visit them at home, make sure you wash your hands before entering, and continue to do so frequently. Do not touch your face, and if you do – make sure to wash your hands. Use hand sanitiser when hand wash is not available.
- Offer your help, whether that be to do the grocery shopping for them – or running everyday errands that might get them in contact with unwanted germs.
It’s likely your loved one will need isolate themselves from the wider community during this time. Being physically isolated from other people can cause loneliness and depression, but there are ways to avoid this.
Here is how you can support your older loved one’s mental health:
- If you’re choosing to avoid visiting your loved ones in their home, you can maintain contact through regular phone calls, mail or online. It’s important to keep up contact, as like everyone, your loved one may be feeling stressed and isolated. A conversation with a loved one can help.
- Drop over a home-cooked meal or a thoughtful gift.
- Encourage them to spend some time outside in the sunshine or fresh air.
- Advise them to reduce the amount of time spent reading the news.
- Help them join an online support community.
- Encourage them to find time to do things they enjoy, perhaps that's keeping up with the gardening, doing a puzzle or doing some craft.
- Encourage them to talk about how they feel - never underestimate the benefit of a meaningful conversation.
If you can't visit your loved one:
But you think they need some support, you can arrange for a Benetas worker to offer support. Benetas In Home Service Assistants continue to offer home care services during this time - with hypervigilance around hygiene practices.*
Services available include housework and cleaning, help with grocery shopping, personal care, companionship, transport to and from appointments, gardening, nursing and much more.
*Mandatory training has been completed to ensure our employees are well equipped in relation to infection control principles and practice. Any staff member displaying cold or flu symptoms, or has been in contact with someone who has, will not be working.