Elderly woman

Coronavirus: Latest advice for elderly people and their loved ones

Over 75s are at a heightened risk from Covid-19

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The UK Government has told everybody in Britain to cease all non-essential travel and contact with each other in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

And elderly people, as well as others in society who are most vulnerable to Covid-19, have been told to go into isolation and avoid crowded areas.

Life looks set to change for millions over the coming weeks and, with the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on the rise, it’s important for everyone to be up to speed on the latest advice.

What do I need to know about supermarket shopping hours?

At present, supermarkets are running as normal – albeit with depleted stock in many places.

There have been calls for Britain’s shops to start offering ‘elderly’ shopping hours, to enable older customers to get the groceries they need without having to deal with the bustle of people panic-buying and stockpiling.

Empty shelves
Supermarkets have faced widespread panic-buying (Credit: SplashNews.com)

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But with many elderly people now staying at home, such changes will likely no longer be necessary.

Older Brits with internet access can get their shopping ordered online and delivered to their homes, although there have been reports of increased delivery times due to a rise in demand.

Offer customers free hand gel at the entrance and politely ask them to use it.

For those picking up shopping for their elderly relatives, it’s important to hand wash before and after being out in public. There have even been calls for supermarkets to offer hand gel to those entering and leaving their premises

According to The Guardian, Prof. Sally Bloomfield, from the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, said: “I think the best way [to ensure hygiene] is to offer customers free hand gel at the entrance and politely ask them to use it to protect other customers whilst they are in the store. Do the same thing for customers who are leaving.”

Can I still visit my elderly parents?

The latest Government advice is for people to avoid visiting elderly parents and other relatives unless absolutely necessary.

Speaking from Downing Street on Monday (March 16), in the first of No.10’s planned daily updates on the outbreak, Boris called on Brits to end all non-essential travel and contact.

Boris Johnson
PM Boris Johnson has urged everybody in the UK to cease all non-essential travel and contact (Credit: BBC News)

This means that people should not visit their elderly parents, grandparents or other family members unless they really have to.

Those who have displayed symptoms, or who live with someone who has displayed symptoms, should likewise not be visiting other people because in those cases, they should be staying at home to avoid spreading Covid-19.

When and how to contact NHS

The NHS has advised people not to call its non-emergency 111 number even if they have symptoms of coronavirus – a fever and a new, persistent cough.

According to the NHS, those who think they have coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and should not go to their GP, pharmacy or a hospital, as testing for coronavirus is not necessary for those who are in self-isolation.

People should only call 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, if their condition worsens or if their symptoms don’t get better after seven days.

Where to check for latest advice

There are a number of places people can go to get the latest advice. Public Health England’s blog is regularly updated with new information on the outbreak.

And for those struggling to cope mentally with what’s going on, there are a number of charities ready to support people who are finding it difficult, including Mind and AnxietyUK.

Elderly man's hands
Help is available (Credit: Pexels)

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Similarly, Age UK, the country’s largest charity for older people, also has dedicated advice for the coronavirus outbreak geared towards the elderly and their loved ones.

People are also advised to tune in to the Government’s daily briefings on the outbreak, which air every afternoon on BBC News.

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