As carers, even before the Coronavirus situation, getting out of the house hasn't always been easy. Leaving the person we care for might be impossible or only possible when we have alternative support in place. With the new experiences of shielding and lockdown we’ve discovered new options and creative solutions. Perfect for our winter hibernation!
3 important things before we dive in
1. If you need help because you are isolating or shielding contact your local council to register for their Covid Response support. You can also find your local Covid Mutual Aid group https://covidmutualaid.org/ or use the volunteer responders service (NHS England and RVS) https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/
2. If getting out to do these things is an enjoyable escape and a way of connecting with others that might be important too!
3. Some of these things might seem to cost a little extra - this might be balanced against the cost of mileage, bus fares, parking etc. You can also mention these additional costs in your next carers assessment.
14 ways that carers are getting stuff done without leaving the house
Shopping from home
Large supermarket online grocery shopping - The struggle to get a delivery slot is now mostly gone as the big supermarkets have adapted to the current situation. If you're doing this regularly, check to see if the supermarket where you shop has a monthly subscription charge for delivery - it might save you money over a year.
Local grocery shopping - In some areas you can also get smaller deliveries from smaller local stores too. Many village stores and corner shops will accept an order by telephone and deliver locally too.
Everything else - So many retail businesses now offer an online or telephone shopping option. Smaller businesses often sell through larger platforms such as Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. There are even options to buy and sell second hand (or even find items for free) through Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, Depop, Shpock, Gumtree, Preloved, Amazon, Ebay,
Taking care of ourselves and those we care for
Online appointments with my daughter's consultant have been so much less stressful and can be managed around my working day - I don't have to take time off work. An unexpected bonus of lockdown!
Online medical appointments - There will always be a time when it is best to see a healthcare professional face to face but as carers we are now finding some appointments work just as well online or by telephone, with the added benefit of less time and money spent travelling and in some cases a less stressful experience when we and those we care for are in the comfort of our own home.
Prescriptions - Do check what your local pharmacy offers, online delivery services are also available from Boots, Lloyds, Echo and others. The NHS has a full list here - https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/other-services/pharmacies/internetpharmacies
Wellbeing - Search Youtube for free online exercises, book your chiropodist to visit you at home or use apps for meditation and mindfulness.
If I have limited opportunities to leave the house I'd rather spend it doing something more exciting that queuing for the post office.
Posting parcels - Royal Mail have a click and drop service that allows you to pay postage online and print off the prepaid label. You can then drop in a local parcel box, or better still for an extra 75p you can arrange for your postman to collect it. Find our more here: https://parcel.royalmail.com/
Safe and Well checks - Your local council or fire service may offer these with a focus on fire safety and prevention. Many will check existing equipment and install smoke detectors where they are needed
Keeping the car running - Rather than taking your care to a garage, ask for local recommendation for a mobile service. Aircon, tyres, windscreen and chip repairs can often be done at home. Local mobile valet services can be cheaper and easier than going to a hand car wash.
Library - some local libraries offer a home delivery service, or you can request the books you would like with the library for someone else to collect and drop off for you. Most libraries have an e-reader service too so you can loan and download books to your device for free. Search for your local library service online or look at a service like Borrow box - https://www.borrowbox.com/
Treat yourself & others
Hair and Beauty - Mobile hair and beauty services can sometimes cost less - always get a recommendation and check their insurance cover and professional status. Although this may have to wait until current restrictions lift!
Takeaway Food - The choice available has exploded recently. A great opportunity to support local businesses with pub and restaurant delivery service, afternoon tea, brownies and even fresh doughnuts. You can even order a meal kit and cook your favourite meal out at home.
Birthday cards - It might be over a year since we browsed a card shop, some of us are making are own or you can now order online with opportunities to personalise, add photos and deliver straight to the recipients door. Or try E-cards. Carers from the Mobilise community have been enjoying cards by Jacquie Lawson.
Gift subscriptions - Flowers, pamper boxes, drink subscriptions and more can be ordered for a monthly delivery. Blurt have a buddy box for a regular delivery of self-care pick-me ups. Mind have a "Pause" subscription, you donate to the charity and you or a friend get a monthly box of relaxation activities
The list goes on..... we could add working from home, running a business or side gig and joining peer support groups like the Mobilise Virtual Cuppa for Carers