Practical Ways to Help Older People
1. Keep in touch
Phone your older relatives and friends and ask if they need any essential food items or medicines 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 check in.
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.
Don’t forget snail mail! Everyone loves getting letters and postcards, or just a note through the door. Now might be the perfect time to dust off your stationary set.
Another fun way to stay connected is to agree to watch the same TV programme and call for a chat about it afterwards.
As long as your older relative or friend is not shielding, you can now spend time with them in an outdoor setting. Make sure you keep a 2 metre distance apart at all times and don't share food or cutlery if you choose to eat with them.
If your older relative or friend lives on their own and is not shielding, they now have the option to form an 'extended household' with one other household. This means that they can act as though they are a member of this household and so can spend time with them indoors and even stay the night. You can only form an extended household with one other household, and so everyone involved should carefully consider it first.
2. Lend a hand
If you’re feeling well, why not offer to pick up shopping for an older neighbour or relative who should no longer leave their home. If you are helping an older person, make sure you stay at a safe distance from them (2 metres) and make sure you leave the shopping on their front doorstep, knock on their door and step back while you ensure they safely receive it.
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, or help them set up an online delivery themselves. It’s worth checking before you offer to do so, though, as some services have suspended deliveries due to overwhelming demand.
Find out if you can pick up any repeat prescriptions for an older person who isn’t able to get to the pharmacy themselves.
You may also know an older person who would greatly appreciate some help with their pet during this time.
3. Show you care
Why not make homemade cards (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?
Books, magazines, and puzzles are all great ways to pass the time indoors.
It’s also important to encourage people to stay active while they stay at home – whether that’s moving around the house, doing some gardening, or going for a walk if it is safe for them to leave the house. Age Scotland’s Body Boosting Bingo is a fun game that will help raise your heart rate, and importantly your mood.
4. Useful numbers and contacts
It can be helpful to know who you can call, especially if you think someone’s feeling isolated.
For practical information and advice, call Age Scotland’s Helpline 0800 12 44 222 (Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm)
If an older person you know does not have symptoms, but you or they are looking for general advice on Coronavirus, the dedicated NHS Scotland information line is 0800 028 2816.
For useful information on local services you can call your local council. You can follow this link to look up your local council
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have collated a list of resources from charities in Scotland that they will be updating regularly. You can find useful resources on their website.
Help us support more older people
Demand for our vital services is increasing rapidly. Please help us be there for older people who desperately need us during this crisis.