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Support networks are springing up around the UK to help the significant number of older people who have chosen to self-isolate as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.

Support networks are springing up around the UK to help the significant number of older people who have chosen to self-isolate as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.

Age UK has changed its advice to the friends and families of older people, suggesting they should keep in contact by phone if the older person feels nervous about contracting the virus through personal contact.

In its latest advice, updated on Wednesday, the charity said it was important that older people felt supported without having their health endangered by exposure to the virus.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is obviously a huge worry and looks likely to be challenging for our older population, so it is more important than ever to be vigilant and look out for older friends, neighbours and relatives to make sure they’re OK.”

In Oxford, a group of therapists are setting up a free, online clinic offering emotional and practical help for vulnerable, older people who have chosen to self-isolate. The Help Hub, comprising around 20 therapists, will offer free 10-minute sessions for residents across North Oxford via Skype, FaceTime or phone.

Blenheim Palace Estate is supporting the scheme with marketing, promotion and the building of a website, which can be expanded to other areas if it gets taken up more widely.

Ruth Chaloner, a therapist and founder of the service, said: “It’ll be both a practical and an emotional community service for those who are feeling isolated, scared, and panicked by the recent outbreak of Covid-19. This is the generation that fought a war and have a ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude. But you can dodge bombs in the war – you can’t dodge this virus and I don’t think this generation necessarily realises this.

“They think all they need to do is stay at home – and if they contract the disease, they’ll die and that’s inevitable. That’s not the case: if they’re staying at home, we can help them emotionally and practically,” she said.

She said church volunteers, taxi drivers and other people might all be willing to get involved in supporting roles.

Therapists could talk through people’s concerns and signpost the more vulnerable members of the community towards help and services as they became available.

Some older people are worried about how long they might have to self-isolate for and whether it is enough protection. Monica Else is 72 and her husband, Roger, is 77. “My husband has almost no chance of surviving the coronavirus because his immune system and lung function are both compromised by chronic leukaemia,” she said. “Will he and I both have to isolate ourselves, perhaps for many months until a vaccine is developed?

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/06/coronavirus-charities-rally-to-help-older-people-in-self-isolation

 

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