12
Feb

How to beat Covid & loneliness

Trudie Meredith Read 699 times

 Winter Wisdom Covid Loneliness Post 1 1

As we move into the second month of the latest Covid lockdown, as a home care provider we are experiencing first hand the effect this is having on the older population and their loved ones.

Matthew Nutting, owner and director of Radfield Home Care Harrogate, Wetherby and North Yorkshire has kindly shared some insightful words of wisdom on how to cope with loneliness, who previous to launching Radfield in Harrogate, dedicated much of his career as an Occupational Therapist with the NHS and in the private sector.

We asked Matthew to share his experience of older people living with Covid-19 and the feelings of loneliness in lockdown, coupled with an extraordinary month of snow conditions.

Q: The winter months are always a time of year when older people can feel more lonely and isolated. As a home care provider in your community, what are you experiencing during this particularly challenging and worrying time?

There is no doubt that lock down has caused many problems for people of all walks of life, and when many of our clients could at times already feel isolated.

During the first lock down we experienced some incredibly good weather when people could go out for walks and spend time in their garden, but this time it is much harder. In fact we have had several very snowy days, when it hasn’t been safe to leave home.

Being isolated has a huge impact on people's mental and physical health. A noticeable impact on older people can be the cognitive decline that people experience from isolation as they are not stimulated in the same way as perhaps they would be during normal times with visits from friends and family.

Q: We know that loneliness and isolation can affect your mental health. Can you provide any reassurance to those that may be struggling currently and any guidance on how to keep your mind healthy?

Talk! It’s important to chat regularly with friends and family - whether that’s a virtual chat using the latest technology such as zoom, or the traditional telephone.

Please ask for help with technology. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed or even scared of technology. Our care professionals have helped our clients to use facetime to speak with family and friends all over the world, and it is amazing what a boost this can have on people’s health.

Ensure you have fresh air regularly. Even opening a window and sitting near by when the sun is shining can be of benefit. As a care company we have several clients that we take for a drive once or twice a week. We follow all covid guidelines and wear appropriate PPE but you would be amazed of the benefit that a drive out into the dales to see the views and spend time out of the house can have - one female client recently became quite emotional from just being away from the same two rooms in her house 24 hours a day.

Q: We know that staying active can help keep your mind healthy. Can you provide some tips on how to stay active in your home and garden?

I would recommend creating a list of things to do for the day. At the top of that list should be who you are going to speak to and which friends are you going to reconnect with. Perhaps think of some topics before calling them so that you have plenty of conversation.

There are always small projects to get stuck into around the house and garden as we know. Now is the time to set to work on these projects that you have probably been putting off for months. And make sure you stick to the list and time table as it gives you a routine and a purpose. Everyone needs a purpose.

Q: We know that eating well isn't just important for our bodies, but it's also important for our minds and certain mineral deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, can give us a low mood. Are there any foods or meals that you would recommend?

A healthy, well balanced diet that contains eggs, meat and fish is the way forward!

Now is the time to treat yourself. That does not mean a bag of jelly babies occasionally, but make sure your meals include good wholesome fresh food. Local shops, butchers and greengrocers need our support more than ever, and many are now doing delivery services, so there is no excuse!

If in the past you would have perhaps eaten out once a week, spend that little extra on some quality ingredients to make a special meal that you can enjoy, and feel proud to have achieved. Spend some time cooking a new recipe or even ask a care professional to help you!

Click here to listen to the podcast:
https://anchor.fm/radfield-home-care/episodes/Winter-Wisdom---Eps-3---Covid--Loneliness-eqboeg

If you or a loved one have feelings of loneliness, there is a lot of support available, here are just a few we would recommend:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/feeling-lonely/
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/loneliness/useful-contacts/
https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-with-loneliness

If you would like to find out more about Radfield Home Care and the care and support services we can provide for you and your loved ones to help them through such unprecedented times, you can visit www.radfieldhomecare.co.uk/ or contact your local office.