With the spread of Covid-19, the Coronavirus, it is easy to be scared and not sure what you should be doing to prepare.
Caroline Abrahams, Director at Age UK, said:
“The coronavirus outbreak is obviously a huge worry and looks likely to be challenging for our older population. That’s why it is more important than ever to be vigilant and look out for older friends, neighbours and relatives to make sure they’re okay. If someone has been advised to self- isolate or is just worried about going out there are still plenty of things you can do to help like picking up some shopping or help by running some errands.
If it’s safe to do so you can pop in but you can also stay in touch over the phone, online or by post. If you or they have any concerns about their health or need more information about coronavirus call NHS111 or visit the NHS website.”
There are a few practical things you can do now to prepare for being quarantined or self-isolated at home.
If you rely on prescription medication, it is best to make sure you have enough at home to last you a couple of weeks.
You can ask a trusted friend or family member to collect your prescription from the pharmacy for you. Alternatively, you can arrange to have your prescription delivered, check with your local pharmacy to see if this is something they offer.
You should also make a list what medications you take and when you need to take them, to assist any healthcare professionals should you become unwell.
If you don’t already, you should consider setting up direct debits for your bills so that you don’t have to visit the bank or post office. You should also arrange for any pensions you receive to be paid directly into your bank account.
It may be helpful to set up online banking so that you can keep an eye on your accounts and make sure everything is running smoothly.
If you do not feel comfortable doing all of this on your own, you can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney to allow a trusted friend or relative to manage your finances on your behalf. This does not mean that you are giving up control, you are just giving someone the legal authority to look after your finances.
Most items can be purchased online and delivered to your front door. Again, if you do not feel comfortable setting this up on your own, ask a friend or family member to help you.
You can choose when the shopping is delivered, and some friendly delivery drivers will even help you put it away.
There is no need to panic buy and the government is arranging for extra home delivery slots to keep up with the extra demand.
What if you become unwell?
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
shortness of breath
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
If you feel unwell and you are concerned you may have contracted Coronavirus, call 111.
Do not go to the hospital or your GP if you think you have contracted the virus.
How to stay healthy
There are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of the virus:
wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds
always wash your hands when you get home
use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
How to prepare for a serious illness
There is not much that you can do if you do become ill, except to follow the advice of the medical professionals.
However, there are some things that you can do to make things easier for your loved ones.
Make a list of all your bank accounts, investments, pensions etc- where they are and the account numbers.
Think about setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Finance and Health and Welfare. These documents will allow your loved ones to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Make sure that your Will is up to date and reflects your current wishes.
Have a communication plan is place with friends and relatives so that you can check up on each other. Just a phone call a day can make all the difference.
The most important thing is not to panic. Statistics say that only a small percentage of the population will catch the virus and an even smaller percentage of those unlucky enough to catch it will pass away.
However, if you are in an at risk group, there is no harm in being prepared.