Written by Active Minds on Sunday the 10th of May 2020.
In light of the current situation, the government has issued advice that the vulnerable and the elderly should stay at home for at least 12 weeks from 21st March 2020; this period could be extended. The advice was issued in order to protect those who may be vulnerable, however it can be daunting to think about staying indoors for this length of time, potentially isolated from family and friends. In the UK alone, the Alzheimer’s Society have announced, over 700,000 people living with dementia are currently self-isolating which could lead to increased levels of loneliness.
The communities across the world have stepped up, to provide support and help those who are vulnerable at this time to help maintain wellbeing and some normalcy. There are a range of community led groups, retail stores, charities and government initiatives which have stepped up in this time with initiatives and ways to help. We have rounded up just some of the support available for the more vulnerable and elderly below.
Dedicated Shopping Hours
Obtaining essentials such as food and household necessities may be challenging for those who have to distance themselves from others. Many supermarkets and small shops have opened dedicated shopping hours which are purely for the most vulnerable, allowing a time for uninterrupted safe shopping. Some shopping hours for the vulnerable, elderly and key workers for the UK are as below:
Tesco (at the time of writing) 9-10am Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Sainsburys (at the time of writing) 8-9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
ASDA (at the time of writing) 8-9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Aldi (at the time of writing) 30 minutes before opening, Monday – Saturday
Marks & Spencer’s (at the time of writing) First hour of opening, Monday and Thursday
With restrictions in place to ‘shield’ the most vulnerable, supermarkets have also started prioritising their online shopping slots to serve those who are most at risk so they can still get their shopping without having to leave their house. If you or someone you care for falls into this category you can find more information on this on each supermarket’s website.
Support for Care App
This year at Active Minds we launched our Support for Care App which is designed to make generating activity ideas for those living with dementia, easier. The app can be downloaded on both Apple and Android and is ideal for both professional care environments and those caring for someone living with dementia at home.
Until 31st May 2020 you can get a free upgrade on the App to gain access to over 200 dementia activities. The app can generate activities based on a user’s abilities and help bring joy to those living with dementia at this time.
Age UK Advice Line
Age UK offers phone services for the elderly all year round, however in the current situation this can be of even more use to some. They offer both an advice line for those who may be struggling or require a little extra advice as well as befriending service which in the past has been both over the phone and in person. Although the in-person service is not able to take place currently, the elderly can still take part in over the phone befriending. The purpose of these calls is to allow an older person to have a friendly and interesting conversation with someone else over the phone. Whilst it is important to keep those who are most vulnerable safe at home, it can be incredibly lonely, so it is more important than ever to have someone to talk to.
Over the past few weeks as the UK has been in lockdown, people have been dropping care packages to friends and family. The idea of this is especially useful for those who cannot leave their home due to ‘shielding’. Not only is this being done by members of the community but the government is also delivering food packages to the most vulnerable. This service is available to those who are considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ and can be registered for on the government website.
If you know of vulnerable people in your community and you are able to go to the supermarket or essential shops for them, consider calling them or dropping a note to see if they require a care package; now is the time to be caring for others as much as we can.
There are many charities and initiatives which support those living with dementia throughout the year and during this time, many have produced resources and advice pieces for those caring for, and those living with dementia. If you can help charities and support those who are helping our most vulnerable, please visit their websites for more information. Below are just some of the fantastic resources available.
The Alzheimer’s Society have a range of information articles available on their site, covering a variety of topics from how to support someone from a distance, to supporting those with dementia in hospital or care homes.
Carers UK have also put together a range of tips and resources for those living with and caring for those living with dementia during this time. Their site has a range of practical advice such as how to plan for emergencies, which can be found here.
Dementia Friends is a brilliant initiative for helping those living with social isolation. They are continuing to help and provide support for those living with dementia and are always looking for ways in which people can volunteer to support their community. See how Dementia Friends can help those living alone and facing the current challenges.
The NHS have a variety of Volunteer Responders who are can help to support those vulnerable people who may be self-isolating alone. Volunteers are mobilised to help those in need with things such as delivering medication and taking patients to healthcare appointments, along with providing regular phone calls and a variety of other means of support. To find out more visit the NHS website or the patient referral form.
Be sure to check in on those who are most vulnerable and make sure they are getting the support they need, whether that be physical care or socialisation, albeit from a distance.