Coronavirus

Dudley Council
Dudley Skyline

Most of us enjoy the sunny, warm weather that the summer months bring but things are different this summer for us all.

The coronavirus outbreak has meant big changes in the way that we all live. It means that this summer our lives will continue to focus around our homes. Social distancing will remain vital when we do meet family or friends and we will need to find different ways of keeping well and healthy.

The summer heat can affect us all but people who are at greater risk of harm from high temperatures are also at greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Older people and people with pre-existing health problems are vulnerable.

It’s important at the moment that we keep safe and well. This section has been produced to share tips, hints and supportive services for older or vulnerable people, so that a good and safe summer can still be appreciated and enjoyed.

Dudley Council, along with other local organisations have a range of support services and schemes that are working to help older or vulnerable people keep safe, well, happy and protected.

We want to make sure that people know where to get help and support, so no one feels isolated or doesn’t know where to get help.

Keeping healthy and well over the summer months

Hopefully we will enjoy a sunny and warm summer - something we could all do with this year! If the sun does shine and temperatures rise, make sure you keep an eye on your fluid levels, keep in the shade (always socially distancing from others) and stay sun safe outdoors.

Stay cool, hydrated and keep sun safe

Older people are more susceptible to dehydration. The ability to conserve water lessens as we get older and we can become less aware of being thirsty and have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. It’s really important during warmer weather to keep hydrated.

Top up regularly with water to avoid feeling tired and confused. Healthy older adults should aim for 1.5 to 2 litres (6 – 8 glasses) of liquid intake per day, frequently through the day, rather than large amounts in one go. A straw can be helpful, as can taking drinks from small glasses, rather than being daunted by a tall drink.

Healthy hydration information from nutrition.org.uk

Keep sun safe

Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn doesn't just happen on holiday - you can burn in the UK, even when it's cloudy. There's no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan doesn't protect your skin from the sun's harmful effects, make sure sunscreen is used.

Aim to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from sunlight with short regular exposures outdoors.

Many people are spending more time indoors so they may not get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.

To protect bone and muscle health people should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D during this the coronavirus pandemic.

In warm and sunny weather older people need to be aware of hyperthermia. Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia, that can be life threatening. Look out for body temperatures over 104 degrees, headaches, nausea, dry skin and no sweating, agitation and heavy breathing.

You can find out more about sun safety and heatwave advice on the NHS’s website and follow the link to seasonal health, summer health.

Top tips to keep summer safe and well

These tips may seem like common sense but can make a big difference to your wellbeing.

  • Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest, usually between 11am and 3pm in the UK
  • Avoid getting sunburnt - use sunscreen (at least factor 30) and cover up with suitable loose-fitting cotton clothing, a hat and sunglasses
  • If driving, make sure your vehicle is well ventilated and take plenty of water with you
  • If you live on your own ask someone to check up on you regularly during periods of extreme heat
  • Keep cool and drink plenty of cold drinks and cut back on alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Eating cold foods like salads and fruit which have a higher water content can help you stay hydrated
  • Keep your home cool – shade or cover windows in sunny rooms and keep the windows closed during the day. Open the windows when it is cooler outside. Turn off lights and electrical equipment when they are not in use
  • Do not use a fan if anyone in your household is unwell with symptoms of coronavirus
  • Take cool baths or showers
  • If you decide to take a swim outdoors to keep cool, make sure it’s a safe place to swim, look out for warning signs and hidden dangers
  • If you feel unwell, dizzy, anxious or very thirsty or if you have painful muscle spasms when it is hot weather - rest immediately in a cool place, drink and cool down, use rehydration solutions if suitable. Get help if you still feel unwell

Keeping active and avoiding falls

Daily exercise remains important, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Just make sure you are socially distancing when you are out and about and use public spaces considerately. Taking exercise each day, even just a walk out in the fresh air helps you stay strong and healthy.

It lowers your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. It also has real benefits to your mental health, boosting your self-esteem and improving your sleep.

Sport England are running a campaign #join the movement and have put together tips, advice, videos and ideas for activities and exercise routines at www.sportengland.org/jointhemovement

There’s something for everyone including older adults, people with disabilities or long term health conditions, pregnant women and families with children on how to keep active at home or outdoors.

If you are self isolating due to having coronavirus symptoms, or a member of your household has symptoms you can do some home based exercises to ensure you are keeping active.

Exercise also helps you to avoid falls, particularly exercise that builds strength and balance. For anyone worried about falling, Dudley Falls Prevention works to help older people avoid falls and with recovery following a fall.

Anyone worried about their balance, mobility, or taking a fall can ask for help from the service. A telephone assessment can be arranged, or a safe, distanced home assessment from specialist falls advisor.

The service works closely with local hospitals and GPs.

During the summer, avoid or limit strenuous activity when it is very hot outside or keep outdoor activity such as sport, DIY or gardening to cooler parts of the day.

 

Keeping connected with others - don't be lonely

Spending time with other people helps you to avoid feeling lonely. This is something that is difficult at the moment and we need to think about other ways we can connect with people safely.

There are lots of online, virtual groups that you can get involved with (focused around hobbies, interests, book clubs etc), you can see family and friends using technology and mobile apps, or you can register for a telephone befriending service for a regular chat. Spending time with other people helps you to avoid feeling lonely. 

The council’s Pleased to Meet You scheme offers support to people feeling lonely, or isolated or who are struggling to get shopping or medication during the current crisis.

The scheme was originally set up to help older people stay positive in later life and to provide a helping hand to get people out and about, meeting people and socialising.

Currently staff and volunteers are working to keep older or vulnerable people in touch and connected with others though regular phone chats, wellbeing calls and arranging food and, to get out and about, or a regular telephone call for a chat.

 

Manage your long term conditions

It’s important that anyone living with a long term health problem, such as COPD, heart problems or diabetes learns to manage the condition. This is especially so during warmer weather where people can struggle in the heat, which can make symptoms worse.

The council offers self-management programmes for adults living with a long-term health problem, or for those in a caring role.

They aim to improve your quality of life by giving you confidence, skills and information to help manage your condition or caring role better on a daily basis. The programmes are free and run once a week for six weeks.

in addition you can also get tips on how to manage your symptoms such as dealing with pain and fatigue, lack of sleep, anxiety and emotional feelings and depression. 

Visit our Lets-Get site, call 01384 816437, or email smp@dudley.gov.uk for more information.



Keeping independent

Whatever the time of year, it’s always good to make sure you are keeping as safe and independent at home. There’s lots of help on offer from council service - Living well feeling safe to keep older people safe and independent. The service offers free home safety and security advice and equipment, all provided from a safe, distanced home visit, or a telephone assessment if you prefer. Here they will also look at any adaptations, or support that will help keep you as independent as possible.

For more information visit living well feeling safe, call 01384 817743 or email livewellfeelsafe@dudley.gov.uk


They also offer a self-serve online option www.lwfsonline.org.uk. Here you can quickly and easily find equipment, aids and services online to make things easier for your own individual circumstances, even purchasing them online.

Carers – look after yourselves

It is important that carers look after themselves and take a break during the pleasant summer months. This is especially the case during the current coronavirus outbreak, which is challenging for everyone.

It can be hard to find time to take a break,or to make time for yourself.

Dudley Carers Hub offers practical help, information and advice to anyone caring for a family member or friend.

Their advice line continues to operate and group carers wellbeing sessions are being held online.

Call 01384 818723, or email dudleycarershub@dudley.gov.uk

 

Keep safe and secure at home

It’s tempting during the summer to keep windows open but it’s important to remember to keep your home safe and secure. Window restrictors are a great solution, letting air in but keeping your home secure. Living well feeling safe can advise on these, as well as other gadgets and support for keeping safe and independent at home.

Remember as well if you are going on holiday (when we are allowed) or on long day trips, to keep your home looking occupied use timer switches, or ask neighbours to pop in remove post or close curtains.

Get energy efficient

With us all staying at home more now is the best time to compare energy tariffs and get switched to a cheaper gas or electricity company.

There are lots of energy discounts, as well as free home insulation and boilers for some homes.

Don’t miss out on lower bills, get in touch on 01384 817086 or visit our  Winter Warmth service for advice or a free home energy assessment.

Stay informed about Coronavirus

Keep in touch with the latest information about coronavirus through NHS and Government websites.

The most up to date guidance is here:

Find out more about Dudley Council’s support during the coronavirus outbreak 

Stay informed about the weather

The UK is prone to extreme weather, from heavy rain to heatwaves, keep up to date with weather and temperature updates on our severe weather page.

You can also find useful information here on looking out for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

You can also visit the Met Office (the national meteorological service for the UK) and check the weather forecast and help you plan ahead, being aware of when a heatwave has been forecast.

Summer wellbeing leaflet

We have put together a Summer Wellbeing booklet if you wish to download it.