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Tips for staying at home

Now we're all spending most of our time at home, we may not have the communities around us that we're used to so it is sensible to put a plan in place. This will help you feel more confident about how you'll manage at home over the coming weeks and months.


Ask for help

Talk to family, friends and neighbours to let them know how they can help. Many communities are also organising local support groups as well. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Explore what you can do by phone or online.


Essential supplies

Make a list of the things you need day to day including food, household essentials and medication. This will help you to keep track of what you need to get in.

Don’t forget to think about the things you may want to keep going with hobbies and interests at home.

There is no need to stockpile. Shops and pharmacies will keep refreshing their supplies. Many shops are also restricting access to the wider public at particular times of day to allow older people to shop first. See our shopping advice for more information.     

It's important to note that it may take longer than usual to receive deliveries to your home so do plan ahead, particularly if you have your usual prescriptions delivered. If you have any concerns about your medication, or worried you’re running low, then talk to your pharmacist.

If you're considered in an ‘at risk’ group you should have received a letter from the NHS which provides you with more information on how the Government will support you to stay at home and not leave the house. This includes information on how to let them know if you need help getting food supplies and medication. If you have not received this letter and think you should, then contact your GP or specialist.


Being prepared

Think about other things it would be useful to have to hand, this may include:

  • keeping to hand a list of useful telephone numbers – as well as family and friends this could include your GP, local council, carers, local pharmacy and delivery services
  • having a list of your medications and important medical information to hand
  • getting an overnight bag ready 
  • if you have a mobile phone and/or access to the internet, think about how you could use them to help (e.g. online shopping, video calls, sending and receiving emails and messages) and check you are confident you know how.

You may want to think about packing an overnight bag, in case you do have to go into hospital. Although this can seem scary, it is one less thing to worry about if you fall unwell.  Think about anything you might need such as snacks, pyjamas, a toothbrush and medication. It’s a good idea to pack a phone charger so you can stay in contact with friends and family and draw up a list of emergency contacts. For people on regular medicines, it’s worth noting down what you’re taking and the times of day you have them. You should also think of anything you would want your healthcare team to know, like existing care plans or any physical problems they should be aware of.


Medical appointments

The NHS are trying to reduce the number of people visiting hospitals and GPs. This is to stop the spread of coronavirus and to protect the NHS.

Find out more about medical needs and appointments here


Care and support

I already have social care, what will happen to it?

If you normally receive care and support in your own home this should continue even if you become unwell and are advised to self-isolate.

Care staff have received additional information and guidance about how to look after people and ensure the virus doesn’t spread.

However, care services may be busier than usual and will no doubt also have some staff that need to take time off unwell. As a result you might experience changes to your normal services such as seeing different care workers or receiving visits at different times of day.

If you have concerns or are experiencing difficulties getting the help you need, contact your care provider and/or your local council for help.

I don’t have social care currently, but what if my needs change?

If you feel your needs have changed and you can no longer cope at home without support, you should contact your local authority and speak to them about this.

It is expected that care services will be busier than usual over the coming weeks and months and as such you may have to wait longer than usual to get support.

It might be a good idea to talk to family, friends or trusted neighbours to see if they can help you in the meantime.

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


Useful numbers

Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565

Free, confidential information and guidance, 8am to 7pm, 365 days a year.

The Silver Line: 0800 4 70 80 90

Call for a cheerful chat, day or night. 

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Last updated: May 21 2020

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