COVID-19 – Clear Advice for Older People
We have all come to realise that we will be living alongside the COVID-19 virus for some-time. We have also come to realise that living safely alongside COVID-19 means quickly adapting to the changes from government, scientific and medical advisors; as they respond to data and evidence. We now find ourselves regularly being given new rules and guidelines and are often asked to adopt them very quickly. This can lead to confusion and uncertainty, especially for older people in our society, who are considered high risk.
It is very important that the messages are clear and concise, can be easily understood and cut through ‘the jargon’. Whilst the Government and NHS websites have general information, I always find that Age UK is a good source of reference specifically designed with older people in mind. They explain the terminology that’s being used, clearly and what it means in reality to our day to day lives.
For example; ‘Social Distancing’ - limiting our contact with people outside of our household and taking precautions to stay safe when going out and adhering to the 2m and 1m distance rules. Everyone should be following these guidelines. However, if you are over 70 or have existing health conditions you may want to take extra precautions, such as only meeting up with people in outside spaces or visiting places at times where they are likely to be less busy. ‘Shielding’ - from the 1st August 2020 shielding ended. However, for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable and previously advised to shield the message is to follow strict social distancing guidelines. This also applies if you are over 70 or living with a long-term health condition as you are at increased risk from coronavirus. It is accepted that going outside more often will bring with it some risk but for many people the benefits to their mental and physical well-being will outweigh this.
Deciding what you are comfortable with is a personal choice and you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing anything more than you want to. If you do want to take extra precautions, there are some things you can do, these include; Meet up with people outdoors, as the risk of transmission is lower outside than inside. If you do meet up with people outside of your household in an indoor space, it is best to do so in larger, well-ventilated places. If you go to other people’s houses or have people to yours, open windows to let air in.
Another useful section on the site is ‘Assessing Your Risk of Coronavirus’, for more information on all these topics visit www.ageuk.org.uk