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Practical ways to help older people

An older lady with a scarf on sat in a kitchen

How we can all help

Want to know how you can safely help older people in your family or neighbouring area? Here are five tips for making their lives easier during this difficult time.

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During this unsettling time, it's vital to keep in mind those who need us the most. This includes older people, who may be feeling uncertain and in need of help from others. Here are some ways you can be doing to help your older relatives, friends and neighbours, whether with practical stuff like their shopping, or keeping their spirits up at a time things feel challenging.

1. Keep in touch

Phone your older relatives and friends and ask if they need anything and let them know if they do, you can help out. And while you’re on the phone, why don’t you have a chat?

You could set up a rota with other family and friends to make sure someone is regularly giving them a ring to see if they’re OK.

This might also be a useful time to introduce older relatives and friends to technology that might prove helpful during this period, such as Skype or FaceTime. We've also written a guide to video calling. 

Keeping in touch using a video call

How to use different systems for video calling, with instructions and demos on video.

2. Lend a hand

If you’re feeling well, why not offer to pick up shopping for an older neighbour or relative who might not be able to or is too worried to go to the shops? If you are helping someone who is self-isolating or shielding make sure you leave the shopping on their front doorstep, knock on their door and step back while you ensure they safely receive it. Make sure you stand 2 metres away from them at all times.

You could help an older person who lives further away from you and isn’t familiar with technology by doing an online shop for them. It’s worth checking before you offer to do so, though, as some services have suspended deliveries due to overwhelming demand.

Age UK's coronavirus information hub

Information on coronavirus, including updates on how you can look after yourself and loved ones, comments from Age UK, and ways you can support older people.

3. Show you care

Why not make homemade cards (which is a great project to do with the kids), send a postcard, even post small gifts to keep people’s spirits up or just write a good old-fashioned letter to an older friend or relative?

Why not get creative with it? Share any pictures or videos of what you’re up to by tagging our Instagram or Twitter accounts, or emailing: stories@ageuk.org.uk

4. Share these numbers

It can be helpful to know who you can call, especially if someone’s feeling isolated.

For practical information and advice, call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65

For a cheerful chat, day or night, call Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90

Please note: as this is a very busy time, if you've contacted Age UK's telephone befriending service, it may take a bit longer for us to match you up with a befriender.

Download me and pop me on the fridge

We've created a resource with handy information and helpful contact numbers that you can give it someone you might be worried about.

5. Donate now

Demand for our vital services has increased rapidly. We need to raise £10 million to help keep our information and advice and friendship services running and deliver community support via local Age UKs.

Emergency coronavirus appeal: please donate

Demand for our vital services is increasing rapidly. Please help us be there for older people who desperately need us during this crisis.

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Last updated: May 27 2020

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