As Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the UK, it will be harder for people to maintain their social connections.

We will keep the page up to date with ideas for how we can all combat social isolation and look out for each other during the spread of the virus. We’ll also link to the latest guidance and advice from government, charities and experts on how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak.

For many people there will be a tough, but necessary period of social isolation. Many of us will miss seeing family and friends and taking part in our usual hobbies, interests and activities.

It shows how important friendship and connection are in our lives, and how difficult it can be when they’re missing. This reminds us that for too many people their lives are often quite a lot like this. 

Research shows that half a million older people regularly experience these kinds of protracted periods of isolation, going at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. During the Coronavirus outbreak it’s especially important we can stay in touch with people who are alone.

Staying in touch

An older woman using a computer

Making sure that you stay in touch with friends, family and neighbours can help to ease any feelings of loneliness you and others may experience while in isolation. Technology can help with this enormously.

  • Call your friends, colleagues and relatives regularly on the phone and see how they are.

  • Create WhatsApp groups with neighbours, family or friends. Share how you’re getting on and ask other people how they are.

  • Use Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date and keep in touch.

  • Offer to help with shopping or running errands. You could use an app like Nextdoor to see if your neighbours need assistance. If you’re worried about transmitting the virus you can leave the bags on the doorstep. 

For many, the telephone will be the easiest and most accessible way to keep in contact. Some of this technology might be new or difficult to use for some older friends and family. Offer help and support to install and use apps.

When using social media be mindful that this may be a frightening and isolating time for many. Be kind. Offer help and advice where you can. Try not to spread unfounded rumours that may cause upset or panic.

Technology can’t replace the feeling of communicating in person, but there are ways of staying connected in isolation that can help.

For many of us this will be a difficult time. Isolation measures are to protect as many people from the worst effects of coronavirus and this will be temporary. If we make the effort to stay connected, we can make a big difference to people who are feeling alone at this time.

Further links

Stay up to date with the latest health guidance on the NHS website

Age UK have a really helpful list of frequently asked questions designed for older people who are worried about Coronavirus.

If you’re feeling anxious or worried about Coronavirus the charity Mind have some great advice and guidance on their website

Find out how to make a difference in your local area using these tips from Eden Communities. 

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