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Advice for older people slowly emerging from lockdown

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While it’s important to remember that the coronavirus pandemic is still a major concern in our daily lives, the slight easing of some restrictions is starting to offer a bit of respite. Many of us are now able to slowly get back to some kind of normality, as long as we take care of ourselves and others.

For people over 70 and those considered most at risk, the last few months have been an incredibly trying time. Not only have you needed to remain at home shielding, but you will have also had to cancel visits from family and friends. It’s likely you’ve also had to miss out on small activities like going out for a nice walk or popping to the shops for bread and milk.

In recent weeks, the situation has gradually improved across the UK leading to government restrictions being relaxed slightly. This offers a light at the end of the tunnel for so many people looking to return to a level of normality. However, the risk hasn’t disappeared and certain areas are facing localised lockdowns.

Official news and advice is changing by the day, making it difficult to keep on top of what you should or shouldn’t do. This is why it’s a good idea to take slow and careful steps in easing your way out of the lockdown mind-set.

A boost to your mental health

Many people will have experienced strains on their mental health and wellbeing during lockdown. It’s extremely difficult being apart from family, friends and other loved ones, leading to an increased feeling of isolation and neglect.

With measures becoming a bit more relaxed, it should begin to feel much easier to get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Whether it’s a short stroll or a sit outside in the sun, some light exercise and a boost of vitamin D can help to raise your spirits and even relieve stress. Even as little as 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor activity a day can have a significant improvement.

Meeting up with others in person can also provide a significant boost to our happiness levels. It’s ideal to meet somewhere outdoors, but if that’s not practical you should be able to welcome selected visitors to your home. While you may have had phone calls or online video chats with loved ones in recent months, nothing quite beats the comfort and camaraderie of a face-to-face meeting.

Maintain hygiene and cleanliness

However and wherever you meet, it’s important to maintain social distancing and to frequently keep up with sanitising regimes. The virus hasn’t gone away and, unfortunately, it’s now something that we will all have to adapt to going forward.

For older people and those with existing health conditions, you’re still at a particularly high risk of developing severe symptoms if affected by the virus. Because of this, you may want to take extra care when washing hands, disinfecting surfaces and keeping your distance from others.

At times where social distancing is difficult, it may also be worth wearing a small face covering for a short time. While this may feel a little uncomfortable, it can be highly effective at preventing virus spread. Consider wearing a face mask if there is less than 2 metres distance between yourself and another person. And of course, they should do the same to ensure your safety too.

The risk of coronavirus appears to be here to stay for quite some time. But by adapting to new circumstances, we can begin to take small steps back towards some feeling of “normal”. Even in such a topsy-turvy situation, making gradual changes can help to empower you and maintain your independence at home.