07
Apr

Supporting older people to maintain fitness and wellbeing through COVID-19

Dr. Hannah MacKechnie Read 602 times

Help your older relatives maintain active during isolation with traditional activities, such as flower arranging, puzzles and reading

We are currently facing uncertain times, and now, more than ever when older and vulnerable people are self isolating and shielding from family and friends, the role of the care professional, our care heroes, is vital to making sure they are staying fit and well by encouraging them to eat healthily and to do some type of physical and mental stimulation activity everyday.

As a care assistant, you can also provide companionship to our clients, to help reduce the risk of social isolation and loneliness; an enormous threat to our older communities whilst we are all being asked to stay at home.

Encouraging good nutrition

It’s important that your loved ones and older people in the community are eating nutritious meals which they really enjoy. Radfield Home Care can ensure that activities such as shopping are built into client visits, making sure that they are getting their shopping essentials and food supplied, or making arrangements with local organisations that can deliver food safely at the door. You can also put together a meal plan, to help provide some focus on preparing and cooking their favourite meals.

Encouraging communication with family, friends and loved ones

As loneliness becomes a bigger concern than ever before, a scheduled care call from you, as a carer becomes more important than ever, giving relatives and family members the reassurance that their loved ones are seeing a familiar face regularly to talk to. What's more, you will be able to recognise any early concerns in changes in health and mobility.

We also now have many new ways we can communicate, such as Skype, video calls, emails and of course social media in addition to the traditional phone call. As a care professional, you can help set up and support these ‘new’ lines of communication if this is needed and encourage your clients to embrace this new type of communication to stay in touch with loved ones.

Embracing Technology

The office for National Statistics found that 83% of people aged 65 to 74 had used the internet in 2019. Technology has without a doubt, got a lot to offer older people and more and more now are using the internet, mobile phones and smart TVs. As a care professional, you can encourage, teach and support clients to become more familiar with this technology, which will help keep their mind active during this challenging period.

As a Radfield care professional, you can help our clients set up an online shopping account, or even a Netflix account where they can choose new films or some of their old favourites, providing comfort during these unusually long days and evenings and help keep the brain active. Keeping busy also gives older people a sense of achievement and helps maintain a routine.

Not forgetting traditional activities...

As a care professional, you can also encourage clients to keep up activities such as reading, puzzles, online learning and craft projects, to help combat boredom, which in turn will boost mood. We are encouraging our care professionals to put time aside during calls to enjoy a game of cards with our clients over a cuppa!

Letter writing these days is deemed old fashioned by many, but we all love them, when we receive them. As a care professional, you can encourage letter writing to a family member, friend, or loved one and we would encourage you all to write a letter to someone you know. On the subject of writing, Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of Silver Line, recently made a suggestion - ’To write your life story’. Something perhaps that we have never found time to do previously, but now can.

Staying Physically Active

Helping older people maintain fitness and wellbeing at home is essential during the current pandemicHelping older people maintain fitness and wellbeing at home is essential during self-isolation

Staying physically active is so important during self isolation, as you can potentially be missing your normal exercise, fitness or wellness classes, but still need to maintain a level of mobility. As a care professional, you can encourage an exercise plan, with a list of simple things that your clients could do each day and, if savvy with technology, there are also online classes now available for older people that you can encourage your clients to join in.

According to NHS guidance, adults aged 65 and over should:-

  • aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none. The more you do the better, even if it's just light activity
  • do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility at least 2 days a week
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

Examples of some light activity that as a care professional you can encourage clients to do:-

  • getting up to make a cup of tea
  • moving around your home or garden
  • walking at a slow pace
  • cleaning and dusting
  • vacuuming
  • making the bed
  • standing up

The NHS have provided some sitting exercises and strength exercises, that can be built into an exercise routine, that you can encourage clients as a carer to try:-

For more exercise information and guidance visit :-

Radfield Home Care are also looking for kind and compassionate care professionals to join their teams across the country, so if you would like to find out more about the role of a care professional, the recruitment process and how you can help and support the older people in your community that are more vulnerable than ever, visit  our careers section to take a look at our job opportunities. Become a hero today!