We use cookies to give you the best experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our policy. Read more about how we use cookies and find out how you can change your browser's cookie settings.
Skip to content
Please donate

Advice on caring for someone in another household

If you provide care and support to an older person, you may have concerns about how to continue doing this during the coronavirus outbreak. Here's what you need to consider to keep you and them safe. 

Caring for someone you live with?

There's specific information for how to provide care and support to someone who lives with you.


Am I a carer?

Being a carer for someone can look really different to each and every person. You may not even consider yourself to be a carer, just someone who lends a hand or pops to the shops for your neighbour for example. But if you provide support for someone – whether you’re paid or not – then you’re a carer.

You may care for someone by:

  • picking up essential supplies
  • checking in with them on a regular basis
  • supporting them to take their medication
  • providing cleaning services
  • supporting someone to maintain their independence at home with personal care such as helping them to eat, move about the house or shower.

If you care for someone we'd really encourage you to think about an emergency plan, just in case you can't provide care. 

Any emergency plan should include:

  • the name and address and any other contact details of the person you look after
  • details of any medication the person you look after is taking
  • details of any medical appointments they need to keep
  • details of any ongoing treatment they need
  • who should be contacted if there's an emergency. 

Perhaps there's a family member, friend, trusted neighbour or a local community support group that could step in and help if necessary?

If those options aren't available to you or don't seem appropriate, you can contact your local council or health care provider. If you can't do this, you should contact NHS 111. Carers UK also has more information. 


Can I still provide care for someone in their home if I don’t live with them?

The short answer is yes – although you might have to change the way you provide this care depending on what it is that you usually do for them.

Even though the Government has advised everyone to remain at home, you can leave your house to provide essential care to someone. But there are precautions and steps you should take to keep you both as safe as possible – such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

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.


How can I safely visit someone?

If you provide care that requires you to go into someone’s home – perhaps you help them to get out of bed, move around their house, take their medication, or get dressed – then you can carry on doing this.

But, if you do so, you must ensure you follow simple hygiene steps to protect the person you care for. These include washing your hands when you arrive and often during your visit, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.


Can I help with someone else's cleaning?

If you help someone with their cleaning, then you can carry on doing so.

But ensure you wash your hands when you arrive – at least 20 seconds with soap and water – and then regularly during your visit. Also try to keep a 2 metre distance from anyone else at all times – perhaps you could ask the person you support to stay in one room whilst you clean? You could also buy some new cleaning products or use what the person already has, as bringing your own can increase the risk of spreading the virus from home to home.  


Can I help with someone else's shopping?

If you usually do the shopping or pick up essential supplies for someone, then you should continue to do this.

But to do this as safely as possible, ask them to leave a list on the doorstep for you to pick up or to let you know what they need over the phone or by text.

When you’re back from the shops, leave the shopping on their front doorstep, knock on their door and step back to check they receive it safely. If they need help putting the shopping away, they could wait in another room while you put it away for them.

What about popping in for a chat?

It’s important to keep any contact to essential visits. If you usually pop in for a chat, you should now do that over the phone, through email or video calls.


Can I still provide care if I have symptoms or I'm self-isolating?

If you feel unwell, have any symptoms of coronavirus and are self-isolating you shouldn’t carry on providing any care or support.

Perhaps you can identify another family member, friend, trusted neighbour or local community support group that could step in and help.

If those options aren't available or appropriate, you can contact your local council or health care provider.

If you do not know how to do this, you can contact NHS 111.

It may also be helpful to contact your local carers support organisation. You can find out about local carer organisations at Carers UK.


What can I do if I'm worried about their wellbeing?

If you're caring for someone, you may be worried about their wellbeing, particularly with everything going on. It’s normal during this strange time to feel anxious or worried. 

If you're very concerned about someone's health or welfare, but don't think it's an emergency you should call 111 for NHS advice, 24 hours a day. If there is an emergency, you should call 999.

If they have symptoms of coronavirus and are unable to manage these at home or are considered extremely vulnerable you should call NHS 111 immediately to let them know.

In other situations, for example where you are worried about potential abuse or neglect, you can contact the local authority in the area where the person lives and let them know that you are concerned.


How can I look after my own wellbeing?

This is a worrying time for many and if you are caring for someone, this may be a particularly stressful time for you.

As carers, it's easy to focus so much of our energy on the person we care for, that sometimes we may forget to look after ourselves, however we must protect the well-being of both the person we care for and ourselves.

As well as looking after others, make sure you're looking after yourself too and addressing any worries you have. These pages can help you do that:

Share this page

Last updated: May 21 2020

More on this topic

Joyce's story

Joyce is her husband's carer. Coping was already tough, but coronavirus guidelines have intensified things.

Arranging a funeral

What does the coronavirus mean for arranging or attending a funeral? Find out more.

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top