Survival Guide Newsletter
Pandemic Survival Guide UPDATE FEB 2021
Positive Ageing In London has put together this Survival Guide for older people living in London. The guide consists of useful information collated from around the internet, some of which has been shared amongst the PAiL community and committee members in previous newsletters and campaigns. It is created to provide a directory of useful links with tips and guides that assist older people during this immensely challenging pandemic period. The guide is broken down into these sections:
- – Staying physically healthy
- – NHS Information
- – Staying Mentally healthy
- – Things to do (Ways in Which to Stay Involved from Home)
- – What You Can do in Your Locality / Community
- – How to Stay Safe at Home / When Going Out
- – Links – Good News Stories, Campaigns, Sources of Help, Things to do, Ways to Stay in touch
Recovering from COVID-19
Staying Physically Healthy
If you have suffered from Covid here is the advice on recovery. As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.
Your COVID Recovery | Supporting your recovery after COVID-19
Sufferers of Long Term Conditions
When you’re managing a health condition at the current time, being
active is about finding what works for you, as well as what’s in keeping
with the latest health advice. Here’s some Advice on remaining active when you have a long term condition – https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/ways-to-move?utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign =weareundefeatable&utm_term=organic&utm_content=waystomove060121
Open Learn Advice on Physical Wellbeing
Vseteckova J (2019) 5 reasons why exercising outdoors is great for people who have dementia
Six ways to Improve Your Wellbeing
We are pleased to let you know that the GLA has heeded our advice and lobbying to provide printed information about keeping well at this time. The information applies to all older people across London and the GLA have now produced a set of postcards ‘Six ways to improve your wellbeing’. See the link below:
Vitamin D is important for good bone and muscle health. Public Health England recommends that older people take a supplement of 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D every day between October and March. It is particularly important this winter as most of us have spent more time than usual indoors over the past year.
2.5 Million people who are considered clinically vulnerable will receive an offer of a free supply delivered to their home. See more in this BBC report here
Healthy Living at Home Booklet
Manchester University have teamed up with ‘Healthy Ageing Research Group’, AGE UK and others to create this booklet about keeping well at home during the pandemic. The information inside was originally created for the people of Greater Manchester and includes some local links and information, but the vast majority of the contents can be just as useful for older Londoners.
This report, conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better and the Physiological Society takes you through a study on “Improving the health and Wellbeing of Older People during the Pandemic”. It’s quite a long read, but if you have the time to go through it all it is a comprehensive study understanding the challenges that older people face and potential benefits of maintaining health regeimes during periods of isolation and restricted mobility. There is also information on how to recover from the virus should you get it and general discussion on the risks and public health recommendations.
Advice on Eating
Is this me? By the Malnutrition Task force is an information campaign to help you understand if you are suffering from malnutrition. Whether you have unexpectedly lost weight recently or are feeling more lethargic or tired than usual, the explanation may be that you are malnourished. This guide helps explore the warning signs to look out for, and what to do if you become malnourished.
We teamed up with our partners AGE UK last year for our Park Walks campaign. The information in the campaign has since been updated in line with the changing times. The link provided offers you some alternatives to stay active (mentally and physically) as much as you can during this time with links to further reading about staying active through walking and enjoying green spaces.
‘PAIL fully supports the need for everyone starting with the most vulnerable to get vaccinated as more people we know have been getting COVID, long COVID and sadly some dying
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT VACCINE SCAMS AND OTHER SCAMS, HEAD TO THE SCAM SECTION ON PAGE 17 OF THIS GUIDE!
PAIL recommends anyone wanting the most up to date and scientifically valid health advice should go to this NHS link and avoid potential scams and fake news coming from other sources.
Accessing GP Services
The NHS have made this video about accessing your GP services. It gives you tips on how to use digital devices and make telephone consultations, answering some of the anxieties of visiting your GP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXHPWbEmp5s&feature=emb_title&ab_channel=NHSEnglandandNH SImprovement
Diabetes Care for Older People During this Time
Medscape have written a piece about the challenges that people with Diabetes have faced during this Pandemic, with the disease disproportionately taking the lives of those with the underlying health condition of Diabetes. The piece looks to understand the dangers and put forward ideas and challenges of how to better prepare in future and better protect those who are more vulnerable because of diabetes.
Effects of Long Covid and help
The effects of suffering from COVID can take a long time to disappear with significant health problems experienced. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have produced a helpful animation to keep you
active and rebuild your strength – https://www.csp.org.uk/public-patient/covid-19-road-recovery.
Make sure you know how to get a COVID test. Although we’ve read a lot about delays in getting COVID
How to Access Health Services if you Have a Long Term Condition
AGE UK have put together a guide for those who may me more vulnerable to COVID. If you have an existing medical condition or you become unwell you might be particularly worried about how to access treatment, medication and appointments. Here’s what you need to know. LINK HERE
Staying Mentally Healthy
Independent Age: Mental Health Advice
Just like your physical health, your mental health can change as you get older. But mental health problems aren’t an inevitable part of getting older. If you or a loved one are suffering, you can get support and there are things you can do to help yourself. Helpful mental health advice as you get older
AGE UK – Exercise for Mental Health
Simple ways to keep active during the coronavirus pandemic. Important to keep exercising whilst at home
Open Learn Advice On Stating Mentally Healthy
Open Learn Advice on Exercise and Depression
Looking for a few tips on increasing your mood? Dr Jitka Vseteckova explores the relationship between depression and exercise. Vseteckova J (2019) Depression, mood and exercise
Open Learn Advice on the benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has grown in popularity in recent years but how exactly can we apply it and what misconceptions surround the practice? This article explores… Vseteckova J, Methley A, Lucassen M (2021) The benefits of mindfulness and five common myths surrounding it https://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/mental-health/the-benefits-mindfulness-and-fiv e-common-myths-surrounding-it
Open LEARN Advice on the Ageing Brain
What happens to our brains as we age and is there anything we can do to prevent memory loss and brain shrinkage? This article digs into the research… Vseteckova J (2020) Ageing Brain https://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/health/the-ageing-brain-use-it-or-lose-it
Open Learn Advice on Keeping well with Dementia
Vseteckova J & Broad E (2020) Keep Me Walking – researching with people
living with dementia and their carers – Podcast – Open University in collaboration with The Parks Trust https://youtu.be/0QHAS88C-LU
World Health Organisation Advice
We start this section with the World Health Organisation’s dashboard for all things mental health. This is a good place to start learning about how to care for yourself and your mental health. The website takes you through different conditions and how to spot them as well as resolutions and advice in the form of the WHO response.
Keeping in Touch With People
With the Pandemic continuing through the winter we will still most probably be seeing less of each other face to face until spring. If you are struggling with loneliness and would like to speak to somebody new, just for a conversation, you could contact a befriending service. Age UK and The Silver Line offer free telephone friendship services so you can enjoy chatting with someone over the phone. Below id the telephone number for Silverline or alternatively you can see more about the AGE UK service by clicking the link here
The first in a series of podcasts about the joint research project The Walking Programme’ between the Parks Trust and the OpenUniversity, exploring how to keep people living with dementia andtheir carers engaged with walking and the outdoors.
More Helpful tips about preventing loneliness are here:
Practical help during December in overcoming loneliness:
ThriveLDN: Mental wellbeing
These are challenging times. It is normal and OK to feel upset, anxious or confused. ThriveLDN, which is the citywide movement supported by the Mayor of London and the London Health Board to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners, have produced a range of resources that you may find useful. See more here
Good Thinking is a NHS approved mental wellbeing service that includes specific help for: Parents and Carers; Children and Young People; Healthcare Professionals and Employers. As well as this you can find advice on a range of issues including anxiety, sleep and low mood and you can even conduct your own self-assessment to better understand what is going on in your own brain. Follow the link here https://www.good-thinking.uk/
Helping with Dementia during This Time
South London’s Health Innovation Network has produced a useful guide on activities for those with or caring for people with dementia. This resource has been compiled by the Health Innovation Network (HIN), the Academic Health Science Network for south London, to support the provision of activities in older adult’s mental health inpatient settings and Care Homes during the national response to Covid 19. With staff likely to be in significantly reduced numbers and residents/patients unable to receive visitors, the challenge was to create a list of options predominantly using online, low/zero cost resources for staff to use for activities in their setting. https://healthinnovationnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Maintaining-Activities-for-Older-Adults-d uring-COVID19.pdf
Things to do, Ways to Stay Involved From Your Home
AGE UK: Ways of helping others from your armchair
As people get older, some may find they spend more time on their own. This can sometimes feel lonely, boring or make people miss friends or family. Now you can volunteer to become a telephone befriender for AgeUK and The Silver Line (as seen above). Just 30 minutes of your time a week could make a massive difference to an older person’s life. If you’re empathetic and good at talking on the phone, you could be a Telephone Friendship Service volunteer. See more here
Help people through difficult times by training to become a Listening Volunteer for the Samaritans.Listening volunteers are there for anyone who needs someone. They spend over one million hours responding to calls for help each year and they can change the course of someone’s life. See more here
Participate in Research
Scientists are continuing to learn about the coronavirus. It is very important that older people are included in research as we are statistically more likely to suffer serious consequences. If you have a smartphone, you can contribute by downloading the Covid Symptom Study app and report on your health every day; it only takes a minute. Information is collated anonymously for research purposes.
Caring For Our Carers
With shielding continuing over winter, virtual activities are still important.Caring for our carers: report calls for investment in digital tech to support unpaid carers. Caring during this time: Challenges and opportunities for digitally supporting carers, sets out key recommendations to assist Local Authorities in caring for their carers; by facilitating ways the caring community can maintain its vital network of peer support during a national emergency. http://circle.group.shef.ac.uk/2020/11/09/caringforourcarersnov20/
Vegetarian for Life
Vegetarian for Life, a UK charity, set up exclusively for the benefit of older vegetarians and vegans is offering free virtual cookery demos and cook-alongs.
They are willing to host a virtual activity, via an orgnisation’s Facebook page or YouTube channel. They recently delivered some ‘Facebook Lives’ on their own Facebook page which you can view by clicking here.
They hope that these interactive cookery activities will help to reduce isolation for older adults and will be a fun activity that older adults can look forward to… as well as perhaps learning some new cookery tips and recipes.
They can offer a diverse range of themes, from cookery
demonstrations, on getting creative with store cupboard ingredients, cooking on a budget, vegan baking (especially relevant with the lack of eggs available!) bread- and pasta-making and more.
They can also deliver live ‘cookalongs’, or interactive group sessions with a chef on hand to simply talk through what people might cook, based on what they have left in their cupboards at this difficult time. They have been delivering these via Zoom.
They also have a virtual vegan lunch club. It runs bi-weekly via Zoom. Follow the link here for more info.
What You Can do in Your Locality / Community
PAIL is pleased to report that we are working with a number of London boroughs to help them become age friendly’ link https://pailondon.org.uk/age-friendly-london-boroughs/
Open Learn Advice on Outdoor Spaces
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased focus on the value of participating in nature. This article explores how outdoor spaces can improve our mental health.Methley A & Vseteckova J & Jones K (2020) Green & Blue & Outdoor spaces https://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/mental-health/the-benefits-outdoor-green-and-b lue-spaces
Age Friendly Street Audits
What can you do to make your locality and streets more age friendly and accessible to all. Click HERE to see how you can set out with a small group of friends to carry out an age friendly audit of your local roads, streets, buildings and parks. By doing this, writing down your findings and taking photos you can have a pleasant hour or so walking the area and then send your findings to your local councillor or official to act on. It is a good way to check
what the condition of your pavements are, how easy it is to cross the road, what facilities are available to you, how safe the local park is. This is senior citizen lad research and can feed info into the decision-makers who are reorganising our streets and communities to make sure pedestrians are safe and your local area is accessible to people of all ages and mobilities. For more details about AGE Friendly Cities and what our action plan is for London click HERE
Age Friendly Communities
The Centre for Ageing Better have published an online document that includes some very useful information on the response to Covid-19. The link includes examples and case studies of Age Friendly communities that are happening in response the the COVID crisis. The aim is to showcase those who have excelled in creating Age Friendly communities and inspire others to try to do the same in their community:
How to Stay Safe at Home / When Going Out
Which? Guidance on How to Cope With Lockdowns
Older people are at greater risk of serious health problems from coronavirus. Here’s what you can do to stay safe and avoid feeling isolated if you have to stay at home. Guidance how to cope with this lockdown Coping with coronavirus: guidance for older people – Which? News
Public Health England, (the government body for health in the Uk) have put together this document of advice for if you need to self isolate. For many this can be an extremely challenging experience, especially if there are few friends and loved ones in your immediate vicinity and the tips and advice in this guide will help you to best prepare and make use of the services that are available. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Self-isolating protects your friends, family and community – Public health matters (blog.gov.uk)
Winter can bring extra challenges. Dark evenings and icy pavements can make it harder to get out, while cold weather can make us vulnerable to illness. Higher fuel bills can be worrying too. Independent Age’s guide ‘Winter wise’ has practical tips on staying warm and healthy in the winter months, including information on Winter Fuel Payments, so you don’t need to dread the cold weather. Coping with Winter from Independent Age Winter wise | Independent Age
Post COVID Advice Posters
If the new COVID guidance has you a bit confused then there are some helpful posters which can be downloaded. The posters, by Keep Safe help to simplify the messages coming from the government on how to abide by the rules and stay safe. They include advice on vaccinations, support bubbles, self isolation, testing food banks and domestic abuse. You can download them from the link below:
Travelling by Tube?
If you have to travel on the tube this link shows you when your tube station is busiest and best to avoid. Click the link and then change to your local train station using the drop down menu CLICK HERE
Park and Public Toilets
Those of you who can get out and about will be pleased to know that park toilets are beginning to reopen. You can check it out on London Parks website www.goparks.london
It is essential that public toilets reopen as more of us are getting out and about. The Toilet Consortium – which PAiL is a member of – is urging local authorities to reopen their toilets safely and calling on the Government to issue guidance. If your local toilets are not open, write to your local council.
Disabled Toilet Keys – RADAR and other toilet keys can be obtained for a few pounds from a number of outlets. See www.ageukincontinence.co.uk
‘Just Can’t Wait’ Cards – This is a small card that you can use to tell shop- and café-managers discretely that you have a medical condition and need to use the toilet urgently. They are available for a small sum from a number of charities including HTTP://www.bladderandbowel.org.
As London Boroughs are changing street layouts to cope with social distancing it’s important that older people and disabled needs are taken into account. The RNIB has just started a campaign to ensure disabled people concerns are taken into account,. https://e-activist.com/page/61212/action/1?ea.tracking.id=8ee5e017
For help in tackling domestic abuse affecting older people see the help that can be provided by Hourglass a charity helping older people. One in six older people are victims of abuse. That’s over 16% of our mothers, fathers, uncles, aunties, grannies, grandads, friends and neighbours. The Hourglass mission is simple: end the harm, abuse and exploitation of older people in the UK. https://www.wearehourglass.org/
The GLA have produced guidance on using face masks during the crisis. The Government has made it mandatory to wear a face covering on all public transport and in shops in England. If you can wear a face covering but choose not to then you may be given a fine of £200 or refused entry/service. LINK HERE
An additional report from the BBC “ Coronavirus: Mayor urges shops to stick reusable face masks”:
COVID Safe Workplaces
The COVID-19 Safe Workplace Charter and briefing document on ending work lockdowns in GB. Ensuring safe workplaces for older workers advice. A safe return to the workplace is essential for the economy, the health of workers and of the wider community. It must therefore be at the core of any effective strategy to deal with COVID-19. However, such safety is endangered by the gig economy, precarity, structural inequalities low pay, lack of sick pay, zero hours contracts and a disregard for the law by some employers. COVID safety cannot be taken for granted or left to the discretion of individual enterprises. It must be guaranteed by robust principles, policies and procedures.
Useful Advice on Saving Costs on Home Heating
As winter draws in it is more important than ever that older people have access to heating at an affordable price. The consumer group Which? Have put together this guide for older people which helps you get the best deal for your heating. Click the LINK HERE to find out more.
TfL Turn Up and Go
From November 23 Transport for London resumed their Turn Up and Go service on the London Underground. This means that Underground staff can offer that extra bit of support to those who need it, for example pushing a wheelchair, offering an arm to someone visually impaired, or accompanying someone in a lift, when safe to do so. They are also able to remove their mask when at a two-metre distance, if that is needed to communicate with you clearly.
To help them do this safely, they ask that you sanitise your hands before and after contact and wear a face covering and socially distance wherever possible. They have also provided staff with disposable sleeves to wear on their arm when guiding you, giving them and you additional protection. They welcome any feedback you can provide to help us understand your needs better. There may be some circumstances where they are not able to offer physical assistance, for example, if you are unable to wear a face covering. In this case, they would offer a free taxi service to the most convenient station so you can continue your journey
Financial and SCAM Advice
Independent Age: Money Advice
Advice on money, bills and benefits. Money can be tight when you’re living on a fixed income and facing extra costs as your needs change. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, there may be benefits you can claim and other ways to boost your income and save money on bills.
Money | Independent Age
Advice on Retirement Finances
Advice on finances in retirement. A generation sleepwalking into retirement poverty: Bombshell survey reveals hundreds of thousands expect to see their pensions run dry because so few are planning for old age.
Here are Some Examples of Scams to Watch out for
Which? Guide to Prevent Scams
Which guide to prevent scams In this guide Which? explains common phone, postal, doorstep and online scams, and give advice on how to protect yourself against them. –
Scams & older people information and guidance – Which?
NHS Advice on Text Scams
Advice on SMS and text message scams:
The Guardian has written an article about the need to protect the access to cash in the wake of the pandemic link here. The article is based on a report from the consumer group Which? Vulnerable people are at risk of being left with no way to pay for essential products and services as the coronavirus crisis accelerates the move to a cashless society, new Which? research has found. Which? You can also help to protect yourself from fraud with the advice from Which? Here
Links to Good News Stories Campaigns, Sources of Help, Things to do, Ways to Stay in Touch
Ageing Well Public Talks
As part of the ‘Ageing Well Public Talk series’ we are exploring how important it is, over our lifespan, to maintain a well-balanced nutrition and hydration as well as regular physical and social activity in the older age, also known as the ‘Five Pillars of Ageing Well’.
The series and related materials such as ‘The Five Pillars of Ageing Well’ ( Nutrition, Hydration, Physical, Social and Cognitive Stimulation) became the cornerstones of further engagement with the public, specifically around COVID-19 and the relating self-isolation, which are now available on the Open University website and the Internet. As part of the resources we have also produced guide/short film for when self-isolating and a short animation.
Creating bridges between communities was the starting point of these talks. The overall aim of these series of interventions is to facilitate a step change in user behaviour and support service provision. Self-management and becoming partner in our own health care is an important aspect of these talks. More information here https://ordo.open.ac.uk/collections/Ageing_Well_Public_Talks_2020-21/5122166
The Retirement Cafe: Ageing Well Podcast
This, the second episode in a podcast series between the Park’s Trust and the Open University, discusses how people living with dementia and their carers can make the most of a visit to local green spaces. Our guest speaker is Dr. Abigail Methley from Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
Vseteckova J & King J (2020) COVID-19 Interview podcast for The Retirement Café: ‘Ageing Well Under Lockdown’ https://theretirementcafe.co.uk/077-dr-jitka/
Mindful Walking Podcast
Broad E, Methley A & Vseteckova J (2021) Podcast OU & The Parks Trust & Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – Spotter sheet and mindful walking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq5OXEBk3CA&feature=youtu.be
Independent Age – COVID Stories
You are not alone – many older people have struggled and faced challenges since the pandemic started
The Silver Guide Project – Tourism Questionnaire and Prize Draw
Have a go at this interactive Questionnaire that will help tourist companies better understand the needs of senior citizens, for when we are eventually allowed to travel after the current winter lockdown. There is also the offer of a free prize draw for all those who enter that could win you a free holiday to Greece.
The SILVER GUIDE PROJECT on senior tourism questionnaire can be accessed through
this link https://survey.silverguide.eu/?ref=uk
These resources below are linking to carerrs Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (also known as ‘ACT’) is a type of psychological therapy used for people who feel ‘stuck’ due to complex life circumstances. This article explains more and offers some top tips. Vseteckova J & Methley A (2020) Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help carers in challenging COVID-19 times https://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/health/how-can-acceptance-and-commitment-t herapy-help-carers-challenging-times-such-the-covid-19-pandemic
Do you want to join in a phone tree. Local age forum members in parts of London have started to ring people they know maybe isolated or lonely. You can do that with your contacts. One example around White City involved Imperial College students helping isolated older residents by matching them with a phone buddy for tech and befriending support, offering them up to two thirty-minute sessions every week via telephone or video call with a dedicated Imperial volunteer. See:
Dental Practices Reopening
Most dental practices have reopened and have initiated new safety procedures for coronavirus – here’s what to expect when you next visit your dentist. https://www.dentalhealth.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=c663e631-18f4-4184-beb6-801b863d3ce9
Personal Resilience Stories
Marjorie’s Story –
Marjorie lives alone in her flat in Somers Town. Despite her ongoing health conditions, she lives an active and busy life which belies her 84 years. Because of her age she is shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown which has involved a dramatic change to her life. READ MORE here: Marjorie’s Story :: Healthwatch Camden
We Will Get Through –
For older people — and indeed all of us, their children, relatives and friends — this is a truly gut-wrenching time. My local pharmacist Vinay Mehta, 58, told The Standard: “It’s getting desperate now. Some older people are panicking. They want supplies of medication because they will be housebound. In 30 years of running my shop, I have never known anything like it.” READ MORE here: We will get through
Discharge From Hospital
590 people’s stories of leaving hospital during Covid-19: A joint report between Healthwatch England and the British Red Cross Advice People’s stories of leaving hospital during COVID-19 (redcross.org.uk) Telephone Scams Advice
Telephone scams which have increased during this time. According to a report by Age UK, 43% of people aged 65 and over, which is almost five million people – believe they have been targeted by scammers but it is estimated only 5% of these crimes are ever reported. This report by Pauline Smith has put together some common telephone scams to look out for and top tips to help prevent Talking About My Generation readers from falling foul to fraud. Top tips on how to avoid telephone scams – Talking About My Generation
Disparities in the Risks and Outcomes of COVID-19
The Public Health England Report on disparities of COVID. This is a descriptive review of data on disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID19. This review presents findings based on surveillance data available to PHE at the time of its publication, including through linkage to broader health data sets. It confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. These results improve our understanding of the pandemic and will help in formulating the future public health response to it.