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Older members of society are especially vulnerable to loneliness right now as they are at high risk from Coronavirus and advised to only leave their homes if it’s essential. However, even when we can’t be physically close to our loved ones, there are many ways that we can support them, show kindness and appreciation, and stay connected. Here are 10 ways that you can support the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of your loved ones during lockdown.
1. Invite them to a family concert
Even when we can’t be physically close to our loved ones, we can still experience connection - a family concert is a great way to do this. Arrange a video conference for the whole family and invite everyone to take part with a song, dance, play, poetry reading or favourite joke. Being together and celebrating each other’s talents is a wonderful way to bring a sense of belonging and create special memories to treasure for years to come. Schedule it in and it will become the highlight of the week.
2. Send a personalised card
Sending a personalised card is a lovely way to stay close to your loved ones. Touchnote allows you to design and send cards and postcards straight from your phone, with no need to buy a stamp or visit a post office. You can personalise your card with a photo, custom design features and a heartfelt message.
3. Use a digital scrapbook
Storychest is an easy-to-use digital scrapbook app that enables you to capture and store the precious moments of your life to privately share with your family and closest friends. A digital scrapbook is a just like a traditional scrapbook but created online, meaning there is no mess and no size limit. You can easily share photos, videos and stories of special occasions, funny moments, and lockdown projects, to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of your loved ones.
4. Encourage physical activity
Many of us are missing the levels of physical activity that we were used to before lockdown. Let your loved ones know about opportunities that they can join in with, such as the over 70s exercise sessions led by 1980s ‘Green Goddess’ Diana Moran during lockdown. 80-year-old Diana is leading exercise sessions three times a week so that viewers can join in from home, showing on BBC Breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6.55am and 8.55am.
5.Treat them with cake
Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding anniversary, or simply to say, ‘I love you’, treating your older friends and family to a cake is a great way to show you care. Cake in a box designs delicious cakes and cupcakes and offers nationwide delivery. They can make egg free cakes, dairy free cakes and gluten free cakes if required, and will create a cake to suit your budget, so why not bring a smile to a loved one’s face with a sweet treat?
6. Help them learn
U3A, or the university of the third age, provides creative, educational, and social activities for people in their ‘third age’. They have recently launchedTrust U3A as a way for people to join their community online while face-to-face contact is limited. Why not treat someone dear to a Trust U3A membership for just £7.50, and give them access to learning resources, interest groups, and events and activities that they can take part in.
7. Top up their hobby supplies
Do your loved ones have a hobby that they enjoy? Taking part in a hobby exercises the brain and supports positive mental health, so making sure their hobby supplies are topped up is a great way to support your friends and family. Most supplies can be purchased online and delivered directly to their front door. If you’re not sure what they might need, just ask!
8. Send a letterbox hamper
From cheese to chocolate to healthy snacks, receiving a hamper is a lovely experience – so often they contain little luxuries that we wouldn’t buy for ourselves. Treat your loved one to a Yumbles letterbox hamper that is beautifully presented, full of carefully chosen treats and fits through their letterbox.
9. Write a letter
This is a simple but powerful way to support your friends and family – a personal letter shows your care in a unique way and is sure to be treasured and reread. If you don’t like writing letters yourself, take advantage of RoboQuill’s offer to send 150 free notes to the ‘loved and elderly’ during lockdown and beyond. RoboQuill’s robots pen ‘handwritten’ notes using real fountain pens and using real ink - they are so realistic your loved ones won’t believe they’ve been written by a robot!
10. Spoil them with a boutique treat
The Bias Cut is the first age-inclusive online women’s boutique with lots of gorgeous treats to cheer up loved ones, including clothing, jewellery, and accessories. Even better, buy an item marked with a rainbow, heart or star and they will donate 25% of the proceeds from your sale to Hospice UK. For your older male friends and family, why not treat them to something from Charles Tyrwhitt.
Whichever way you choose to show your care and support for your friends and family that are over 70, it is sure to be appreciated and will make a real difference reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
If you are feeling lonely and feel like you need to talk to someone immediately, call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 055 6112.