You can get in touch by calling the helpline on: 0808 1963390
This guidance is for people who rely on a family member, friend or neighbour for support.
It has been produced as part of the Ashburton Community Covid Response by Ashburton Community Care, in consultation with Dr Ian Hodgins, Buckfastleigh Medical Centre.
The government has said we must all stop social contact, even with family and friends. Stopping social contact is the only way to prevent spreading the virus – so we must take this seriously. This means not having visitors entering your home, wherever possible. What should you do then if you rely on someone else to help you?
We have received calls from concerned people in this position and have prepared this information sheet with some points you may wish to consider. You will know your own situation and your particular needs to keep you healthy as well as safe from the Corona virus. We hope this note might help you adapt your life.
What should you now do if you have been relying on someone to help you?
Please remember that the virus is very contagious. We must all assume that everyone is infected. Someone can give you the virus even if they do not have symptoms and you can also pass it on to someone, even if you do not have symptoms.
You may have a number of people who usually support you. Ask them to consider together whether just one person can do this and who is the ‘safest person’ from the virus i.e. who has the smallest number of contacts with other people. Maybe they are retired or working from home with very little social contact and everyone else they live with does the same. We know that not everyone knows someone like this so we have
prepared this guidance to help you manage this situation and minimise the contact you have with other people at this time.
Because it is so contagious, there is a chance that your helper will develop symptoms of the virus. People who have been exposed to the virus are asked to self-isolate for 7 days. If they live with someone who has ‘a new continuous’ cough or high temperature they must stay at home for 14 days in case symptoms develop. If you can, consider asking someone now to be your back up helper. If the person who helps you becomes ill and you still need help to find someone else, please call our helpline on 01364 255 919. We can help you with shopping and collecting prescriptions and help support you to cope with this change.
Remember, in the future, there will be more people who have had the virus and so should be immune and that these people will be able to help you more safely. The suggestions in this note are temporary and are to protect you at a time when the virus is spreading rapidly.
Together we should Stay Home, Support the NHS and Save Lives. Shopping Support
If you normally rely on someone else for shopping you might need to make some changes to the way you do this. Shopping involves bringing items into your home which will have been touched by others and may carry the virus. Find ways to minimise the number of times this happens each week.
Plan ahead: prepare a weekly list and expect only one delivery of food per week, or even a fortnight if this works for you.
Wherever possible, use a shop which offers over the phone ordering and payment service, e.g. Spar in Ashburton (Tel: 07596 130917). A town volunteer will pick up your shopping and safely deliver it to you. This means fewer people visiting the shop which helps to protect customers and staff.
Handling Money: Money can carry the virus and it is safest to handle it as little as possible. The World Health Organisation has advised us to wash our hands after handling money, especially if handling or eating food afterwards.
If your bank has a service where you can transfer money to someone by calling the bank on the phone, this would be a safer way to pay your helper for your shopping.
Where possible use cheques or make an arrangement to pay your helper for several shopping trips in one go.
If you do have to receive money, have a pot ready and ask the helper to put your change in the pot. Leave it for 3 days before touching it or wash your hands thoroughly after touching it.
Be flexible: accept food from a shop that you may not normally use in order to enable your helper to spend less time at the shops. Encourage your helper not to go round the shop themselves but to use the over the phone ordering service. Spar in Ashburton (Tel 07596 130917), will pick and pack your items and have them ready. This helps to keep you and your helper and the people in the shops safe.
Do more yourself – transfer shopping in small loads: When you receive shopping from a helper, don’t invite them in. Ask them to leave the shopping on your doorstep then knock and stand 6 feet back, so you can safely pick up the shopping. If it looks too heavy, bring it in making several short trips. If this is really too much for you, go into a separate room and let the helper quickly enter then leave the house.
If you can, leave your new shopping for 3 days before using it. Or, wipe down the shopping with diluted bleach before putting it away. Ask to receive fruit and vegetables in packaging so you can wipe it down. Fresh loose goods need to be washed then left to dry. Always wash your hands after touching anything that has been brought into the house from the outside.
Meal Preparation Support
If you are receiving support for meals, please stay in a different room to the person preparing your meal, if at all possible.
Accept meals that take less time to prepare – the least amount of time someone else spends in your home, the safer you will be.
Think about meals you may be able to safely prepare for yourself that will give you enough nutrition to stay well but may be simpler than you are used to. Adapt your shopping list to reflect this.
Everyone has different expectations when it comes to housework. Whatever your opinion, please be flexible at this time.
• Consider what tasks you think are essential and also how frequently they need to be done.
• Bed making, laundry and hoovering are tasks for which people often seek help. Consider accepting that your bed sheets will not be changed frequently during this time of emergency.
• Consider washing smaller loads of washing yourself, in more manageable loads.
• Try to accept that your floor does not need to be hoovered in this emergency.
You may be receiving help to dress.
Consider ways to minimise the amount of contact and time needed to dress you – for example wearing looser, stretchy items.
Also consider staying in your nightwear and wearing your dressing gown in the day on some days, to avoid needing the close contact required for help with dressing.
You can have your medicine delivered to your door by the free volunteer service – you don’t need to ask your helper to make a trip specially. This reduces the number of people visiting the pharmacy and helps keep the pharmacy workers safe, your helper safe and supports your GP surgery too. Call 01364 255 919 and the Town Helpline Volunteers will pick up and safely deliver your medicine to you.
To deliver, they will knock on your door and stand back. You will need to answer and let them know your name to confirm they are delivering to the right person. Then close the door so they can safely approach to put the medicine on your doorstep and then walk away. When they are again at safe distance, bring your medication inside and immediately dispose of the bag. Wash your hands before touching the medicine.
Your helper shouldn’t stay in your house longer than absolutely necessary. Don’t be shy about reminding your helper to stand outside the house to speak to you if they linger, and don’t be offended if they don’t stay to chat like you are used to. It may feel strange but this will help keep you both safe.
You may have relied on someone popping in regularly for a chat. Instead, use the phone for both short and longer conversations if you can. Even to speak to someone who is just outside your door. Again, this may feel strange but remember it is temporary and will help keep you safe. Phone providers often offer a good deal if you pay for ‘anytime’ call package where you pay a fixed rate for as many calls as you wish to make. This will be a cheaper option than paying per minute if you are able to use the phone regularly. Call our helpline if you would like help with this – we can call you back so you don’t need to worry about the bill.
Some people pay for help every week. If you usually pay someone to support you but are receiving less time from them each week in order to protect you from exposure to the virus, consider paying them the same amount as you normally do, if you can afford to do this. The government is supporting some people who are employed or self-employed and there is a time delay on any financial help.
Finally, we are all in this together. You may be living alone but you are not on your own. Stay well and stay safe.
If you are unsure about how to keep yourself safe during this Corona Virus epidemic, please do call our helpline and we will be happy to talk to you. This leaflet is up to date on 3rd April. Do call us if you would like us to phone you to keep you up to date with the latest guidance.
Call our town helpline number on
for shopping, prescriptions, advice, practical help
or just for someone friendly to talk to!
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