Ten recommendations if your older relative is in isolation at home

Practical, day-to-day recommendations of what to do in this situation, developed between the Matia Fundazioa in the Basque Country, the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University and others.

  • Maintain a daily contact routine.

    Through a phone call, video call or any other secure means for you and your family member.

    Useful details of how to keep in touch here:

    Ofcom - Stay Connected during the coronavirus

    Age UK Advice Line 0800 678 - details of a befriending scheme also

    How to use Zoom

  • Try to maintain a positive and friendly tone.

    Reassure them about how you are and how the people they care about are doing.

  • Encourage them to do their personal care routines.

    Hygiene, clothing, medication, some exercise... If you know of any meaningful activities they do, and they can do them safely at home, invite them to continue them. Talk about any routines you've had to change also.

  • Make sure they eat well and have their medications.

    This might mean helping with ordering food online or making sure that they have some kind of neighbourhood support available for shopping, if you live far away. Take into account their preferences and encourage some treats.

    Advice on how to eat well during the coronavirus period, especailly if self-isolating.

    Find a local group that can help through COVID-19 mutual aid

    Advice from Mind about maintaining well-being during the coronavirus period

  • Entertainment is important.

    Make sure they have access to things they like. If they have access to digital media, try to share music or books or encourage them to use things like the BBC IPlayer. For Welsh language media they can use either IPlayer or S4C Clic, in addition to the usual broadcasts of course. Take time to talk about favourite shows, films, music or books. If you can, send them something to encourage any hobbies.

    Here are some suggestions:

    Catch up with Box Sets on S4C Clic

    Google has teamed up with over 2,000 museums across the world - virtual tours of many

  • If you’re related, send them photos of family members, voice recordings, via WhatsApp or e-mail.

    If they don't have something like WhatsApp, try to send a family photo with a message of encouragement on the back by post, if possible. Now's the time to sort out all those old photos perhaps!

    How to set up a peer support group on Zoom

  • Remind them of their strength in dealing with past situations.

    Older people carry a whole heap of experience with them and many have overcome difficult situations in the past.

  • Encourage them to contact friends and neighbours.

    Many will be in similar situations and can share their experiences and concerns with each other. If they're not on social media of some sort, then encourage them to phone, maybe a couple of people every day.

  • Listen to them and answer their questions.

    Give them the information they need that will help them. By all means talk about the current situation but remember to talk about other things too.

  • If possible, divide this contact with an older relative among several acquaintances.

    It's good for the person and also for the rest of the family.

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