In collaboration with Age UK Mobility
As the new year approaches, it’s often a time to take stock of the year that has passed. And well, 2020 has really been something hasn’t it? One year ago as I took stock of 2019 and looked ahead to 2020, I didn’t imagine a pandemic shutting down the world. But here we are, in the middle of a global pandemic. It’s been hard on many people, but particularly impactful on our older friends and relatives. Grandparents unable to spend time with grandchildren, families unable to enjoy Sunday roast together, people isolated in their homes. It’s been hard, but if anything it’s made us all think about those family connections we have, and just how important the older people in our lives are.
From the very start of the pandemic, it was clear that older generations were those more likely to suffer ill health and death from the virus. Of course that’s not to say young people wouldn’t get sick – statistics have shown that they do, but it’s generally been accepted that a lot of the measures put in place in recent months have been to protect the NHS from getting overwhelmed, and to protect our older generations. In fact, there have even been campaigns encouraging young people to ‘protect your granny’.
However, the physical effects of Covid are not the only issue. As Age UK discovered, the pandemic has had a massive effect on the mental health of the elderly too. Many older people have been shielding, or simply too afraid to leave the house to do their usual activities. This has left many people to be completely cut off from the outside world, unable to see friends and family.
Restrictions may have eased a little in more recent months, with social bubbles allowing isolated family members to join with others. With the vaccine rolling out across the UK in the coming months, hopefully those restrictions will ease even further. But in the meantime, there are things we can do to look after our loved ones.
Get them online
A major feature of this pandemic has been the infamous zoom call. From remote work meeting to family quiz nights – a lot of social interaction this year have taken place online. If you have older relatives or neighbours who are unable to see loved ones in person at the moment, why not help them get online? There are some great resources to help people connect – something which could provide a valuable lifeline for those feeling lonely. There have even been some Zoom sing-a-longs taking place!
Help them stay independent
In a time when older people are spending more time indoors, it’s important to make sure they have all they need to be comfortable and retain independence. You can shop for mobility aids, stair lifts, specialist bathroom equipment and more at Age UK Mobility. Other ways you can help your older relatives retain independence is to show them how to do grocery shopping online, so they can still shop for themselves even if they don’t feel comfortable leaving home. Many supermarkets are offering priority delivery slots for those most in need.
Be careful over the festive period
With eased restrictions over the Christmas period, allowing three households to meet, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s going on. It will be lovely for many families to gather together after months apart – but please remember this pandemic is not over, and we still have to keep our loved ones safe. Of course, enjoy Christmas, but please do so safely!