As countries around the global battle to control the spread of coronavirus, the UK government has put in measures to enforce social distancing, people can only leave their homes to buy food, medicine and to exercise. They're allowed to travel, but only to and from work if they cannot do their jobs from home. By conforming to these rules and staying at home people are protecting health services and saving lives.
However, as the elderly population are amongst the most vulnerable groups of contracting coronavirus, authorities have stressed the importance of checking in on the elderly. Apart from the potential risk of contracting the coronavirus the elderly have to manage isolation, which can lead to other potential health issues as well as mental health issues such as depression.
It is essential to contact the elderly people you know, even if you cannot be there personally, touch base via the telephone, email or video chat to help the promotion and stimulation of emotional and mental health.
We have listed what we think are some of the most important questions to ask to find out how the person is really doing.
How are they feeling physically?
Try to understand how the person is doing physically.
Do they have a cough or sore throat?
Are they feeling well or are they feeling ill?
Do they have a temperature or do they feel warm?
These are symptoms of the coronavirus, but they are also symptoms of other conditions and viruses as well. If you are concerned about a loved one’s health, reach out to that person’s medical team for direction.
Do they have enough food, supplies and medications?
At the current level of risk of the coronavirus, it is not advised for an elderly person to go to the shop. If you are not able to get what they need for them in person, you may be able to help the elderly person access online shopping and deliveries to help them to prepare to be home for a while.
Are they feeling worried or anxious?
Try to reassure the elderly person that the coronavirus situation will improve and to encourage the following ways to stay healthy; including a well-balanced diet and stress relievers such as deep breaths or meditating.
Are they having trouble sleeping?
Struggling with anxiety can lead to sleep problems. Try to encourage the elderly person you know to take breaks from watching, reading and listening to the news, which can fuel the type of anxiety that could lead to sleepless nights. If the individual continues to have sleep problems, contact their doctor.
What do they need help doing?
With limited access to services, perhaps the elderly person has things going on at home they need help completing.
Do they need assistance paying bills?
Are there maintenance issues in the house?
Do they need help with the exterior of the house or garden?
Ask about those issues and try to assist them if it is safe to do so.
Staying in regular contact with elderly people during self-isolation and asking the right questions can help ensure your loved one remains physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.