How To Stay Connected To Elderly Loved Ones During The Coronavirus Outbreak
According to Age UK there are around two million people aged over 75 living alone, with many of those already experiencing high levels of isolation and loneliness.
Now with infection rates of the coronavirus pandemic increasing each day – and with the elderly most at risk from contracting serious illness – the threat of prolonged isolation has become a very troubling reality.
Already more than a million people go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Add Covid-19 to the mix, and we have a situation where even carers for the elderly may be prevented from making regular visits.
When the press talks about ‘underlying health conditions’, it’s important to make sure that those vulnerable to coronavirus are not sitting at home on their own, as isolation and loneliness are risk factors for one particular health condition – dementia – and Covid-19 could complicate this. Therefore, it’s important that people stay engaged and active.
Public Health England is advising people with Covid-19 symptoms to avoid seeing older relatives in order to avoid passing the virus on. The CDC has also emphasised that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed – more so for people with serious chronic conditions or weakened immune systems.
However, many older adults depend on services and support provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
And if you’re not sick or displaying coronavirus symptoms, a visit to see an elderly person can make the world of difference to their daily lives.
So, what are the options if you know someone who is self-isolating and in a risk category?
One option is to use appropriate technology. This doesn’t mean having to be handy with a computer; there are age-appropriate devices available which uses specialised apps made for the older person, designed specifically for people who may be uncomfortable with modern technology.
Amba for example, is a simple communication device and an easy way of keeping in contact with older vulnerable people, without the user needing to be tech savvy.
Amba is a Blueberry Health product and consists of a simple touchscreen, with an adjustable viewing angle, inside a robust holder that’s designed to stay in one permanent location at home – such as a table next to a chair, on a sideboard or perhaps wall mounted. It’s able to make video calls and send messages quickly and easily using a finger or stylus, and has a number of other functions that are generally required by the elderly, such as an emergency help button that will send a text alert to members on their list should the user get into difficulty.
There’s more information on Amba on the link at the bottom.
Technology can’t replace the feeling of communicating in person, but always remember there are ways of staying connected, even in physical isolation, that can help.