CHECK ON ELDERLY RELATIVES OR FRIENDS
With the government advising over-70s to remain inside for a prolonged period, elderly members of society risk feeling more isolated and alone than usual. If you have older relatives or friends, check in via phone or text to ensure their spirits are kept high. Try suggesting things they could watch or read while spending time inside. Be sure to tell them your news or updates too, so they’re still in the loop with the outside world. If they’re tech savvy enough, use Skype or FaceTime to enhance the quality of your contact. You can also check out organisations such as The Silver Line or Age UK, which will pair you with an elderly person to set up regular phone calls via a ‘buddy’ system.
PICK UP SUPPLIES FOR THOSE SELF-ISOLATING
As well as needing human contact, anyone who has to self-isolate might also need regular medications or supplies. Check in with neighbours and friends to see if there’s anything you can pick up for them and leave safely on their doorstep. Friends who are single or living alone might be struggling more than others with family nearby, so let them know you’re there for them.
DONATE TO CHARITY
Anxiety and depression are just two of the numerous mental health issues triggered and exacerbated by the current circumstances, so specialist support charities are likely to be inundated right now. From Samaritans to Mind and Age UK, plenty of organisations could use a little extra help to keep going. Volunteering might take a back seat at a time of social distancing but, with traditional lines of income – such as charity shops or events – getting cut, anything you can spare money-wise would undoubtedly be appreciated.
To ensure there’s enough to go around for everyone, it’s time to stop stockpiling. Ignore the panic in the air: hoarding more supplies than you realistically need or can use isn’t fair. If you think you might have overdone it, ask a neighbour or friend if there’s something they’re missing or running low on.
DELIVER TO FOOD AND BEAUTY BANKS
Amid the pandemic, don’t forget about the tireless work done year round by homeless shelters and food banks. Among their many contributions, they make sure basic hygiene products get to those living in difficult circumstances. Sudden shortages in toilet paper, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes will hardly help them, so give back what you don’t truly need.
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
With current government advice warning against visiting local cafés, bars or restaurants – not to mention theatres, cinemas and event spaces – plenty of small businesses face an enormous challenge to stay afloat. See if your favourite restaurant or bar is offering customers the chance to purchase a gift card which can be redeemed at a future date. Other venues are asking loyal customers to ‘pledge’ what they can to supplement lost income, so they won’t be forced to close their doors permanently. Social media is a good way to stay in contact with your favourite haunts and see what you can do to help.
It’s rare the NHS has enough under normal circumstances. Right now, the combination of enforced quarantine and rising hospital admissions means a severe blood shortage could soon be a reality. Most people aged 17 to 65 can donate – assuming they don’t have certain pre-existing medical conditions. Such contributions could make all the difference in getting someone the treatment they need. For more information, visit NHSBT.NHS.uk.