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Coronavirus: How to care for your elderly relatives while they're self-isolating

By Mirror | March 24th 2020 at 16:22:30 GMT +0300

People over the age of 70 have been urged to self-isolate as much as possible to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

As one of the demographics most vulnerable to the disease, the elderly should avoid public places and refrain from gathering with family or friends.

Of course this isn't easy, with isolation often leading to feelings of loneliness and alienation.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to support your older friends or relatives during this difficult time.

  • You should try to leave supplies on the doorstep, but if that's not possible you can go into the house.
  • You should stay two metres apart, avoid touching anything, and make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you arrive.
  • It's also important to check in regularly by phone or text - or, if possible, ideally Facetime or Skype. Being able to see someone's face helps people to feel more connected.
  • And kind gestures go a long way. Send a card or drop off some flowers - anything to let the elderly people in your life know that you're thinking of them, and are available to help if they need it.  
  • If you're struggling to get your elderly relatives to take the coronavirus crisis seriously, it's a good idea to gently remind them that it's not all about them.
  • They might think they're being brave by venturing out, so you should explain to them that they'd actually be helping other people by sticking to the rules, and self-isolating as much as possible.
  • Putting a human face on the coronavirus will also be helpful. Instead of throwing numbers and statistics at your elderly relatives, tell them stories about people who have been affected.
  • And instead of telling them not to do something - ask them to do something else.
  • But remember to be gentle, as this is a worrying time for many.
  • If you're worried about the mental health of somebody who is self-isolating, the best thing you can do is check in.

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