What impact has COVID-19 had on caring to you?
Thursday 9th July 2020
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty fortunate when it comes to my elderly relatives. They're all still pretty agile and active as they have grown older, either caring for grandchildren pretty much full time or even still working. I've not yet had to think about care or get involved with organising care for my elderly relatives just quite yet.
That being said, Coronavirus certainly changed that. As per government advice, the elderly relatives in my life all went into lockdown and begun shielding. To me, I didn't really think this would have much impact but was I wrong!
My elderly relatives could no longer go out to get their shopping. They're not online (or if they are, they wouldn't even know where to begin) so couldn't just order a slot (although, it seems there weren't many spare even if they could!). How would they get their essentials? Luckily, we have quite a large family, so amongst the children and grandchildren, we were able to get any essentials they might have needed.
But it didn't stop there. Because they could no longer just hop on the bus or walk down to their friends house, how would they get human interaction? My Nan specifically become a worry.
Luckily, my Dad had given her an old iPhone a few months prior to lockdown, we had already set her up on social media and taught her how to use it. To be fair, she picked it up pretty quick, not bad for an eighty year old!
I know you can keep in contact via phone, but it's just not the same as getting to see someones face. I was able to FaceTime my Nan several times a week to make sure she was ok. I was able to drop her shopping off and stay and have a chat with her in the front garden, as did my other relatives.
All of a sudden, we had taken on that role as a 'carer' essentially. We begun supporting our loved ones with things they could no longer do; shopping, companionship, hot meals etc.
According to the Office of National Statistics, before April 2020 only 11% of adults reported providing help or support to someone outside of their household. In April 2020 alone, this jumped drastically to 48% of adults!?
How many of you have unconsciously taken on the role of a 'carer'?
For most of us, as restrictions have begun to ease, our elderly relatives can venture out into the community, catch up with friends, from a social distance of course, grab any shopping and so on. However, there is also a lot of people who will not be able to return to pre-lockdown life, for whatever reason.
What are those people going to do when the ones they have been relying on have to return to work full-time? Who is going to pick up their shopping? Who is going to provide them with companionship and stimulation? Whether your loved on has been relying on the support of family, friends or even volunteers, have you considering where this might leave them in the coming months?
I would urge you to take the time to create a plan, whether this is shared between family members or professional support through an agency like ourselves or even employing your own PA.
I cannot express enough what a well thought out contingency plan can do for your loved ones health and wellbeing. It might not seem necessary or you haven't gone back to work yet, but what happens when you do? What happens when your employer calls you and tells you that you'll be back to the office, warehouse, salon etc tomorrow? Who is going to care for your loved one then?
Make sure you take care of your loved one, cherish every moment with them because sadly, they're not around forever...
If we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0117 9477422.
Office of National Statistics article re 'The Impact of COVID-19 on Caring' can be found here