How to keep spirits high at home and stay connected whilst social distancing
01 April 2020
Due to the continuing spread of coronavirus, the UK government is urging everyone to stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines unless they are going out for vital work, food or health reasons.
Social distancing measures are likely to last many more weeks, even months and we understand that spending a long period of time at home will become increasingly difficult and isolating. That’s why we’ve put together a few ideas to help you keep spirits high if you live with family and stay connected if you are living independently.
Ideas for family carers living with older family members
Below, you’ll find some enjoyable ways for you to support your older relatives who are social distancing at home, including activities you can enjoy together and ideas to bring the outside world into your house! Our top tip is to think of an activity you used to go out and enjoy together, then see how you can continue enjoying this from the comfort of your own home.
Buy a bingo set for a friendly game at home. And if you want to step it up a gear, you could make it a weekly event by asking other family members and friends to join via video-chat!
Do a quiz on different topics each week. You could text relatives and ask them to take part, or contribute some questions
Try an instructional video together – you can find lots of videos on YouTube to help take care of your physical and mental wellbeing whilst social distancing, such as yoga and painting
Research your ancestry. There are numerous online sites, where you can trace your ancestry or have someone do it for you. It is a really interesting way for your relative to stay occupied whilst social distancing, and you and your family can benefit from knowing more about your roots! Be aware that some internet information is free and other sites will charge for their services
Set up your kitchen or dining room in the style of your relatives’ most-loved restaurant and cook their favourite meal. We have lots of kitchen aids to help older people, or those living with a disability, safely prepare food, so you can both get involved
Instead of your daily beverage at a local café, host your own “Tea and Coffee” session…and make a cake to go with it! If the weather is good, and you have some outdoor space, you could even enjoy some fresh air
Find a film you both enjoy on TV or a streaming service, then get comfy with some fluffy blankets!
If you’re a bit more internet savvy you could set up the person you’re caring for on a smartphone or iPad to help them stay in touch with their friends and other family members, independently
Adding small events like these to your calendar while social distancing gives you both something to look forward to and prepare for, which goes a long way in looking after your mental health.
Staying in touch and keeping your spirits high if you live alone
We know this will likely be a very lonely time for people living on their own, especially those who are older, that’s why we want to help you stay connected with your friends and family whilst social distancing. We have a range of different mobile and landline telephones that are simple to use and will help you to stay in contact with your loved ones.
Picking up the phone for a quick catch-up is great, but scheduling longer calls with family whilst you're social distancing can have its benefits. This way you know you won’t disturb anyone working from home or interrupt the grandkid's school studies. It may also enable you to talk for longer and have their full attention.
Get in touch with old friends
If you know any friends, neighbours or relatives that live alone, or who may also be feeling a bit lonely, why not give them a call? They are likely to appreciate you thinking of them and it gives you the opportunity to suggest more regular calls if that’s something you’re both interested in.
If you and someone in your family both have a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone with a camera you will be able to do a video call! This can be a bit intimidating for some people at first, but if you can do it – it’s worth it. It’s a much more personal way to keep in touch with your loved ones and can make you feel like they’re really in the room. You could ask a family member to help you set up a video over the phone, or you can find some great tips online from websites such as Age UK.
Avoiding scam calls
Unfortunately, you may still get unexpected or scam calls whilst you are social distancing at home. We’ve got some quick tips to help you deal with these if you are on your own:
Answer just with ‘hello’ – if you don’t recognise the number, make the caller give you their details first. This will help you to check that they’re calling from a credible place. It is perfectly acceptable to just put the phone down if you feel under pressure or think you should end the call
Don’t give out your personal details – including your full name, e-mail, birthday etc. and do not include these details on your answerphone or voicemail
Ask for the caller’s details – ask for details of their organisation, its address and telephone number. You can then use this information to notify the organisation that you no longer wish to receive calls
Never give out financial details – if someone rings you asking for personal financial information, never give it
Ring them back – if you get an unexpected call and you’re not sure if it is legitimate, it is okay to end the call. You can ring them back later on a secure number you trust. Remember that scam callers can sound professional too, so a professional sounding person on the phone doesn’t guarantee the call is secure