Looking after elderly relatives during lockdown can be challenging. Having said that we want to do our very best for our loved ones. I have two older relatives that I worry about. One already has issues around immunity and the other thinks they may well have had Coronavirus before lockdown began. Every individual and family has their own unique set of circumstances in these testing times. It is scary when we are told that it is the elderly with underlying health conditions that are most at risk from this rotten virus. So what is the best advice when it comes to looking after elderly relatives during lockdown?
Communication is key
This is a time when we need to talk to each other openly and honestly. It is OK to feel frightened and to express that. It is a sign of your love to tell your elderly relatives that you are worried about them. It is good to ask them what would help them in any way in these unprecedented times. Don’t be surprised if they are more concerned about you than their own issues. It is a time for families to work together as a team. It is also a good idea not to expect perfection and to be forgiving with each other when things go wrong.
Equipment can help
Older relatives often need practical aids but don’t want to trouble you by mentioning them. Now is a period when many of us have time on our hands to get things sorted. If you look on websites like Fenetic Wellbeing you will see larger items such as wheelchairs, beds and recliner chairs. However, you will also see smaller items that can make a real difference to matters like mobility and hygiene. These are the very things that have the potential to transform lives in a positive way. This is also a great time to look into future-proofing homes to ensure they are safe as people get older.
There are so many charities that can help your loved ones with their specific needs. Two that spring immediately to mind when it comes to looking after elderly relatives in lockdown are Silverline and Age UK. Silverline offers telephone calls to reduce an older person’s feelings of isolation. They also have a scheme whereby they connect that person with help available to them in their local community. Age UK has wonderful information and advice along with specific services around befriending and IT training. There are also wonderful charities that can help those who are grieving, those who are struggling with mental health issues and those who are caring for someone.
It is time to use the amazing technology we have these days to chat with elderly relatives who we are not currently able to see. It is a great idea to use email, video calls and perhaps to set up a family Whatsapp group.
Keeping elderly relatives busy
There is nothing like boredom to get people down so ensure that your relatives have things to do. If you are home-schooling you can bet the older people in your family have knowledge and skills to share with younger generations. You might like to order a subscription box on a theme that interests your relative such as books, cookery or a pampering treat.
As many have already said, we are all in this together. Let’s keep looking out for one another!