Carers v Covid-19
Covid-19 update 17 Mar 2022
Since March 2020, this page has pulled everything useful I can find for carers together, for quick reference. I delete and add things as I spot them, and update links when they’re broken. If you spot anything I should update or share here too, please email or tweet me and I’ll publish it.
Official guidance on Covid-19
- Bucks testing centres can be found here.
- Book your covid vaccinations/booster here (Maud and Mum are both triple jabbed).
- The different covid tests available and where to get them nationally are found here.
- Check if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and find other useful advice on the NHS website here.
- Specific government guidance for unpaid carers is collated here.
- Specific guidance on Covid-19 for carers is also found at Carers UK
- Guidance for visiting loved ones in a care home is here, but please check directly with ‘your’ care home.
- Extra guidance for those living with dementia: Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society
- Changes to carers’ benefits highlighted by Carers UK
- If you need an emergency care plan template, use my free, easy to download version here.
- Advice for carers who work: customer champion Martin Lewis summarises the options for carers who are employed or self-employed on his website. He now has a dedicated coronavirus page on moneysavingexpert.com and you can sign up for his helpful emails.
Shielding and supporting the ‘extremely vulnerable’
If the person you’re looking after has a medical condition that makes them ‘extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19, government information has been collated here (updated 25 February 2022).
Do you need help with shopping or prescriptions?
If you can’t get out to shop or get a supermarket delivery slot, The Royal Voluntary Service & NHS Responders support vulnerable people. They offer a shopping, prescription collection and ‘friendly chat’ service. Carers can make a referral for the person they care for. The ‘covid service’ that also supported carers in their caring role seems to have been withdrawn from their website, but you might want to check. You can call them on 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8 pm) to make a referral. Even if you can manage right now, you might want to add these details to your emergency care plan.
Financial Support for carers
Consumers’ champion Which? has published a guide for carers on ways to save money during this time, it’s worth a look.
How can we boost our immunity against Covid-19?
Giving up smoking and alcohol, shedding excess weight, good quality sleep, a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg all boosts our immune system. An over-the-counter vitamin D supplement outside of the summer months is wise, especially for those who rarely leave the house.
Exercise is the most important thing we should all do more of. Walking / running / cycling etc (at least 30mins for full benefit) if we’re able. Otherwise squats and star jumps inside or out are great. As long as we keep well spaced from each other. There are lots of PE sessions online now if you have access to internet. There’s local trainers posting virtual classes to do in your home too, please support them.
For house or chair-bound people any increase in exercise is good for getting your virus-fighting white blood cells whooshing round the body. Lots of helpful YouTube videos aim to help, just do as much as you can.
Useful contacts in Oxon/Bucks and beyond
If, for whatever reason you are starting to feel overwhelmed by care duties, click here to find local Bucks carers support groups. Most have updated their websites to accommodate Covid-19 self isolation. Please don’t wait until you’re on your knees, contact social services and trust them to prioritise their caseload.
Alternatively use this national carers.org site to find the nearest carer group to you.
Your Local Authority Support
Use your postcode to find your own local council (and what they’re doing to help you) here.
Carers Bucks are now offering virtual or ‘real life’ carers’ groups, read more about their 2022 schedule here.
National Covid-19 community support
From making an extra meal to buying essentials, almost half (48%) of people in the UK said that they provided help or support to someone outside of their household in the first month of lockdown in April 2020 (ONS).
People helping the vulnerable can carry on with the fantastic work they’re doing as long as they’re not showing symptoms. Community support groups that fetch shopping and prescriptions and are happy to call for a chat have sprung up around us. Local Facebook groups (search under your village/town) and Nextdoor seem to be the most used, depending where you live. Ask a friend or teen to set you up (using a fake DOB, if you’re wary), observing covid protocols of course.
Find (and register) any local community support group, by post code, at CovidMutualAid.org. And find NHS Volunteer Responders here. If you’re able to safely collect shopping or prescriptions yourself, within current government guidelines, why not offer help to your local volunteer group.
Staying in touch with friends and family
The phone is great, but it’s nice to see a friendly face too. I’ve listed the easiest smartphone apps for ‘domestic’ use. They all have ‘help’ sections and you can google how to use them too. Vogue published a good guide here.
WhatsApp and FaceTime, at least, work well on 4G (check your phone’s plan so you don’t pay through the nose for data).
WhatsApp - best for mobile phone/tablet, for up to 4 people. Facetime - best for iPhones and iPads for up to 32 people on a call. Zoom - free for 2 people. Best on pc/lap top or tablet. For 3 or more people (up to 100) you can have up to 40 mins free. Tip - ask a friend or volunteer who already knows how to use these apps to send you a meeting invite via your phone number or email. You'll be prompted to download software which makes it easier for newbies and you'll get a faster feel for whether you like it.
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to tech or the internet, it’s totally OK for them to ask their community for help. There are local people organised and ready to support them. If you’re a remote carer, ring a grocer near where your elder lives. Chances are someone there will be plugged into the local volunteering network and able to help your loved one.
There are phone lines available for the very isolated, but I’d hope we can mobilise to visit people face to face.
Age UK 0800 678 1602 (free) 8am - 7pm every day for older people, their carers, families and professionals Silverline 0800 4 70 80 90 (free) open 24hrs a day for anyone over 55yrs old who needs friendship, help or advice
Other useful info in this blog
- Make sure you have an emergency plan in case you’re off your feet and have to pause caring duties for a spell
- Be prepared should you need to admit your elder into hospital but follow the guidance given by 111 or the paramedics on the day
- Get acquainted with local older adult social services
- These stress-reducing tips might help you if you’re already overwhelmed
- This blog’s contents list is here, in case you want to explore LPA’s, practical, time and budget-saving tips.
Look after yourself too
Last but not least, you. A face mask (of the cosmetic variety) is great, but equally helpful:
- stay as active as possible and get outside once a day if you’re able, at least open a window if it’s mild.
- do that dull task you’ve been meaning to do (strangely calming).
- regularly connect with others over the phone or by video (see above).
- give and receive hand, neck and foot massages, hair brushing, smelling flowers.
- do a reminiscence activity together by building a life story.
Good luck friends, take care. With love x