It’s been a strange old year. COVID-19 has completely changed everything from popping to the shops and visiting loved ones to how we spend our free time. And for those that have live-in care or home care, they’ve relied upon their carers more than ever before.
In many ways, it’s been quite an unsettling time – what with people contracting coronavirus, the economy rapidly shrinking, people losing their jobs and many sadly losing their lives. But there are some positives that we can all take from this experience; the sense of togetherness and how our amazing frontline workers have cared for all of us over the past 18 weeks; spending more time with family; discovering the great outdoors and getting back to nature.
With lockdown restrictions now easing, life is slowly starting to return to some sort of normality. Although we must still take precautions by following government guidelines and social distancing rules, there are still lots of things that you can do this summer – either with your family, friends or live-in carer.
Although there are restrictions in place for what you can do when you’re out and about, there are more and more places that you are able to visit now that lockdown has begun to ease. Shopping centres, cafes and restaurants are slowly starting to open again, which means that you are able to take a trip to your local high street and visit the shops (providing you wear a face covering from 24th July), which can be quite a pleasant activity to do with the support of your carer. As well as getting out and about, you may be able to see some friendly faces (at a distance) that you haven’t seen for months.
New hobbies outdoors
Being cooped up inside for the past four months with not really much to do has been effecting people’s mental health, but it’s also meant that people have had to be more inventive with their time, with some even discovering new hobbies. Past times such as birdwatching and nature photography are great ways to ensure you are still getting fresh air but having fun with it too. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy expensive cameras or binoculars. You could use a smartphone camera to capture some of the beautiful scenery, nature and landscapes around, perhaps experimenting with different times of day when the light changes.
If you are still a bit nervous about being in a confined space with other people outside of your bubble, why not explore the parks and green spaces in your community with your carer? Even if you just go for a gentle 20-minute stroll, walking can help to boost your mood, burn calories and keep your heart healthy, which is really important if you’ve found yourself moving less during lockdown.
The National Trust have also begun to open up some of its gardens across the UK, although booking in advance is a must. They have also opened a handful of houses too, with strict social distancing guidelines in place. Check if your local stately home is on the list here.
Now that you’re able to have visitors from two other households, it’s much easier to keep in touch with family and close friends. And for those that have been shielding, they will no longer have to from 1st August, meaning that they will be able to have visitors too. With this is mind, why not ask your live-in carer to help you bake some tasty treats for your reunion? It’ll be a lovely activity to do together and your guests will be very touched at the effort you’ve made to make them feel extra special when they visit you. There’s lots of videos on YouTube with hundreds of different cake decorating ideas – whether you’re baking a batch of fairy cakes or a family-sized Victoria sponge.
With garden centres now fully open, there’s no excuse for not getting those gardening gloves on! And with the warm summer weather, it’s an ideal time to get outside and get planting. Not only that, but gardening has been proven to have positive effects on people’s mental health, mood, cognitive functions and quality of life.
If you’re not sure where to start or only have a balcony or windowsill to grow your seeds on, take a look at The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website, where you can find the best activities to do in your outdoor space. From planting flowers for bees and birds, to helping the bugs and insects thrive, there’s ideas for all.
Distanced garden parties
We’re notorious in this country for getting the barbeques out as soon as there is a hint of sunshine, which is the perfect way to welcome some of your family over for an afternoon. If you struggle with hosting and preparing food, you can always ask your live-in carer to help you or even ask your small number of guests to bring an item each to save you from worrying about remembering to get everything.
And if barbeques aren’t your thing, you could have an afternoon tea garden party instead. Finger sandwiches are fairly easy to prepare and if you struggle on your feet, you could always ask your carer to help you make the sandwiches whilst sitting down.
You may even want to make your own garden games for your grandchildren. Outdoor chalk has been hugely popular during the pandemic, with colourful rainbows and games of noughts and crosses drawn on slabs and brick walls across the country. And you needn’t worry; the rain will wash it off, so you won’t have anything permanent adorning your back garden!