Eight ways to support your parents during self-isolation

We are thrilled that Jessica, co-founder of ElWell has kindly written a post for our readers, ‘Eight ways to support your parents during self-isolation’. Elwell is the website that shares knowledge and experiences to empower families and carers, so that they can make informed choices with their older relatives – whether they live near or far,

This is a particularly opportune time to read this post as many of us are worried about elderly relatives and how to care for them in the best possible way if they are having to isolate or if they contract COVID-19.

Nancy and Jessica, co-founders of Elwell from post Eight ways to support your parents during self-isolation
NANCY & JESSICA, CO-FOUNDERS OF ELWELL

Hello, it’s Jessica from ElWell here. Our mission is to help people stay active and in control as they get older, and this has never been more important than now, during these testing times.

It’s really important that our loved ones in self-isolation stay active and keep their strength up. We’ve put together some tips to help you support them remotely. Together we can get through this!

  1. Establish a routine: Can you help them add some structure to their day, and organise a daily remote catch-up? Maybe you can both watch the same programme and discuss it afterwards over a cup of tea? Whether it’s on the phone, FaceTime, Skype, or waving through the window, keeping spirits high and contact going is key for good mental health.
  • Future-proof the house: As we get older, our needs change and it’s a good idea to future proof our homes with this in mind. Get on the phone or video call, walk round each room with them and understand how easy they find each room to use. Whilst big modifications cannot be made currently, small adaptations can help make a difference to their safety and comfort at home. For example:
  • Extra lighting could help them see better and reduce the risk of falls.  We like these easy to turn on touch lamps for the bedroom. They would look great on bedside tables and turn on easily during the night if your parents need to get up. Click HERE for more info.
  • Rugs are a trip hazard, so if possible encourage them to take them up and replace with carpet or other soft flooring options. If this is a no-go, then secure it in place with rug tape or rug grippers like this: click HERE for more info. Before purchasing, just check they are suitable for your floor.
  • Encourage them to stay active: As we get older, we lose muscle strength which explains why we can become weaker and more frail. If nothing is done about it, this can inhibit people from being as independent as they would like. But the good news is that being active can help with strength and lead to staying independent. Government guidelines say that any exercise is better than nothing. Whilst being in isolation makes exercise harder, there are things they can do. Such as walking in the garden or using on-line exercise videos if they are up to it. Even setting a timer for every 45 minutes during the day, as a reminder to get up and shake their legs for ten minutes. We’ve put together more information on staying active while in self-isolation including exercises which can be done stood up or sitting down, which you can read here.
  • Keep cooking up a storm: Eating well at a time like this is vital to keeping strength up, and cooking can also be a good way to pass the time. However, think about whether their kitchen equipment needs an upgrade. Items like lightweight oven trays and easy to grip knives can be just the recipe to staying independent. We really like these knives from NRS (a fantastic supplier that also provides equipment for the NHS): Click HERE for more info.
  • Remember the memories: Encourage them to use the time to go through old photos that may have been accumulated through the years. This happy exercise will bring back memories and can also provide new stimulus for you to discuss over the phone or video calls.
  • Spot the scams: Scammers are becoming much more advanced, and it can be easy to fall for scam calls or emails. Remind them not to give their personal details to anyone. It could be an idea to get a new landline that allows them to block calls from nuisance numbers, like this from BT. Click HERE for more info.

ElWell is here to support you as you look to support your parents, and their website is full of useful information.  Run by Jessica Silver and Nancy Farmer, they understand first-hand how hard this can be and are on a mission to help others in the same boat.

Follow ElWell on Instagram or Like them on Facebook @elwellwellbeing.

Have you seen all the other posts in our Wellbeing category on this website?