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Talking to your loved one about coronavirus

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Posted on 1st April 2020.

The coronavirus outbreak is starting to have a significant impact on all of our lives and various measures have been brought in to protect those who are most vulnerable. We understand that talking to a loved one about coronavirus may be difficult, particularly if they suffer from a health condition such as dementia. However, it is essential that you speak with your loved ones openly about the situation we are facing and encourage them to take steps to protect their health. To help make this easier, here are some useful tips on talking to your loved one about coronavirus.

Discuss self-isolation

The UK Government has advised that all vulnerable people should self-isolate within their home for a period of at least 12 weeks. This includes anyone over the age of 70, pregnant women, or those with pre-existing medical conditions such as severe asthma or cancer. This measure was brought in to help protect those who are most at risk of developing serious and potentially fatal complications from coronavirus, meaning that many people’s parents and grandparents will be required to stay within their homes for three months or longer. This includes a large number of people who require care for conditions such as dementia – over 95% of people with dementia are over the age of 70 and therefore classed as vulnerable.

Discussing coronavirus and self-isolation with someone with dementia may be difficult, particularly as it may change their routines However, you should discuss self-isolation with your loved one in the best way you can to ensure that they understand what will be involved. Explaining and reiterating key changes to their daily living, such as not being able to go and meet friends or see grandchildren, will also help them to overcome some of the initial barriers. Mentioning the different ways they can communicate with family and friends, like video calls, may help them feel more reassured.

Emphasise the severity

You should make sure that your loved one understands the seriousness of the situation and takes the necessary steps to protect themselves. You may be reluctant to discuss coronavirus with your loved ones, through worry of causing them fear or anxiety. However, you must make them aware of the risks and keep them up to date with any new developments. This will encourage them to follow the government’s advice and minimise their risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus.

Offer your support

Your loved one may feel anxious about how they are going to get essentials during the period of self-isolation. You can help put your loved one’s mind at ease by offering to support them by delivering regular food parcels. Some essential coronavirus shopping items include long-life perishable foods, dried foods, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and medicines. This will ensure that your loved one can remain living comfortably and safely in their home during the coronavirus self-isolation period.

Consider having a carer during the coronavirus outbreak

If your loved one lives at home but requires regular care for dementia or a similar condition, then you should consider contacting a professional care company. Remember that you must follow social distancing measures and avoid coming into contact with elderly or vulnerable relatives. A carer can visit your loved one’s home and support them whenever they need it, whether this involves collecting essential food from the shops, assisting with personal care or administering medication

Overall, a professional carer will ensure that your loved one continues to receive the high-quality care they deserve while minimising the risk of infection. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your loved one is receiving the care and support they need to remain comfortable and safe throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Encourage them to remain active

Vulnerable people may be unable to go out for the next few months, but this shouldn’t stop them from leading an active and fulfilling lifestyle. Encourage your loved one to try new hobbies such as sewing, puzzles, or reading. The internet also offers a huge variety of activities to keep people entertained at home. This includes online games, surveys, videos, and music playlists. You could also encourage your loved one to remain social by using social media platforms and communication technology, so that they don’t feel alone.

Final thoughts

We understand that this is a worrying time for those looking after family members with health conditions such as dementia. Use the advice above to discuss the coronavirus outbreak with your loved ones and encourage them to follow the recommended measures to protect their health. There is an excellent variety of resources available to help vulnerable people through the coronavirus outbreak.

If your loved one requires care during this time, then contact our friendly team of professional carers on 0808 278 2589 to discuss how we can help.

Lauren Knowles Campaign & Brand Manager
About Lauren Knowles joined the Helping Hands team in April 2019. Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Journalism and is a trustee for organ donation charity, Save9Lives.Read Lauren's full profile Read Lauren's full profile