Wednesday | 15 April | 2020
By Marli Naidoo
The aged are one of the most vulnerable groups with regard to the outbreak of Covid-19. They have been advised to go into self-isolation and to take the lockdown very seriously. These are logical and highly effective steps in combating the corona virus. However, this leaves many old people physically and emotionally isolated. It is therefore important for every family to see to it that grandmas and grandpas don’t feel lonely and helpless during the lockdown.
According to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, we are allowed to provide sick or old family members with medication and groceries. You may also help them to get to a doctor or hospital, or to draw their SASSA money. Just stick to the rules, wash your hands regularly and maintain a safe distance between you. Remember: no hugs!
Another way of making sure that your older family members and friends are well taken care of, is by contacting them every day. Make sure that they feel loved and find out if they need anything. If, for instance, your grandfather has a toothache, you may take it upon yourself to phone around and make an appointment with a dentist. And give him a lift to his appointment if he does not drive himself anymore.
Cook and deliver meals. Be sure to wear your mask, maintain the social distance, and sterilise everything you drop off. Preferably do not enter the house. This will also ensure that your older family members eat well, take all their vitamins and that their immunity stays strong.
If they live in an old-age home or retirement village, it does not mean that you have to forget about them. Keep on making contact every day and see to it that they have everything they need.
Encourage your older family members to keep busy and even to try out new hobbies. Provide them with packets of seed if they want to go in for gardening. They can work for Lifeline as volunteers, which is done by telephone, or even write encouraging letters to family members. Or perhaps the time has come to start writing that autobiography, or to start painting.
Encourage them to keep busy. Draw up a plan for moving around many times a day, even if it is just between the garden gate and front door.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.