Coping with the Coronavirus situation

Older person cope with coronavirus situation

Here’s our advice to help you cope with the coronavirus situation

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the government has advised that if you have an underlying health condition(s) or if you are aged 70 or older, you should be social distancing for up to 12 weeks. It’s really important that you look after your mental and emotional wellbeing during this time, as well as your physical health. If you struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, we are here to help.

Here are a few tips to help you cope with social distancing:

  1. Create a daily routine – this helps to give structure and purpose to your day.
  2. Try to have a good mix of work (be it house work or paid work), rest and leisure activities.
  3. What activities do you usually do?  If they’re important to you, have a think about why they are important and see if you can adapt the activity so you can do it at home – eg.  If you can’t meet your friend for coffee, can you call them instead?
  4. Create yourself a ‘to do’ list.  Nothing gives a sense of achievement quite like ticking everything off.
  5. Identify what might cause you to feel low and look for ways to manage this.
  6. Stay in touch with family, friends and neighbours.
  7. Look after yourself by eating and drinking well – this will help to boost your immune system and energy levels.
  8. Make sure you keep moving – be it around the home or outside if you’re able – this will maintain your fitness and strength.
  9. Keep up-to-date with government guide lines and advice through the media.

How we can help you cope with the coronavirus pandemic

We Care Home Improvements is the contracted Home Improvement Agency for Bristol City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.  We also work in partnership with Gloucestershire Council.  We are part of a network of organisations supporting local hospitals and community health services to get people home from hospital.

Our Handyperson service also plays a vital role in helping to prevent hospital admission by helping people to get small jobs and repairs done around the house.  When people have health difficulties or find it difficult getting around the home, small jobs can seem like big jobs.  But it is important to maintain your home to keep you safe and well, and out of hospital – especially at this time.  If you need any help with home maintenance, please give us a call to see how we can help on 0300 323 0700.

Our Handypeople are following all government guidelines to keep people safe.

Need help with shopping, prescriptions or other small daily domestic tasks?

We are aware that some of our customers may be struggling with other daily tasks such as getting shopping, prescriptions or walking their pets.  Please contact Age UK on 0800 678 1602 (for Bristol 0117 929 7537) or the British Red Cross Bristol on 0344 871 11 11 to see how they might be able to help you.

Feeling overwhelmed?

If you are feeling low or anxious, the Samaritans are able available 24/7 to offer emotional support.  You can call 116 123 for free.

For more advice on how to cope with coronavirus and your mental health at this time, visit the Mind website.

Are you in a position to help others?

If you can offer to help others, please start with friends and family that are self-isolating or have difficulties getting out and about.

Many older or vulnerable people aren’t able to access help online and aren’t sure where to go for help at this time.  You can use this template to post through front doors and offer help to people you don’t know that live close-by.

Some people are using this crisis as an opportunity to scam or take advantage of older or vulnerable people.  If you are worried about this, here is some advice from Independent Age.

Alternatively, if you are in a position to be able to offer help to others you can also visit Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK or Can Do Bristol to register your interest.

Other resources

  • Public Health England– up-to-date government guidelines
  • Independent Age – free impartial advice for older people
  • Well Aware – provides local information that can help improve people’s health and wellbeing in Bristol and South Gloucestershire (0808 808 5252)
  • Alzheimer’s Society – if you or someone you care for are worried about coronavirus and need support and advice, call the Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456

Tony Hall on “Enabling Bristol to become THE Dementia Friendly City of the UK”

In this guest blog, Tony Hall from the BDAA discusses his goal of making Bristol the number one dementia-friendly city in the UK.

Tony Hall BDAA chairman bristol dementia friendly city

 

Bristol Dementia Action Alliance (BDAA) was launched in July 2013 with the objective of “Enabling Bristol to become THE Dementia Friendly City of the UK”.

 

We do this by arranging dementia awareness sessions for any business, school, children’s group club, community and faith groups. In fact – anybody! The sessions generally last an hour and are free of charge.

 

The BDAA works in partnership with We Care Home Improvements to support their staff to learn more about the condition and become dementia-friendly. Julie Derrick is their local Dementia Friends Champion (and she’s a member of BDAA). She delivers Dementia Friends sessions to those wanting to know more.

 

tony hall bdaa bristol dementia friendly city action alliance

 

We also organise and run dementia workshops for those people working in the community with the over 50’s, particularly those living with dementia. Four half-day workshops were arranged in 2019 and are proving to be very useful and popular. Four more are already programmed for 2020.

 

We also launched the Happy Days Memory Café  in November 2015. It’s for carers and people living with dementia. The club operates on the first Friday of the month at Westbury Baptist Church, Reedley Rd BS9 3TE from 14.00. – 16.00.

 

The BDAA works in partnership with other agencies in Bristol that support people living with dementia and their carers. This includes BRACE, Bristol Older Peoples Forum, Linkage, St. Peter’s Hospice, Carers Support Centre, Alzheimer’s Society, and Dementia Wellbeing Service.

 

Building a dementia-friendly city together

Some other examples of what we’ve been doing are:

 

  1. We are supporting St Peter’s Hospice in all their staff and volunteers to become Dementia Friends.
  2. We are working with Bristol & South Glos Girl-guiding. Over 900 girls and young women are dementia aware,
  3. Working with Youth Moves and NCS (National Citizens Service) approximately 1000 teenagers are dementia aware.
  4. Bristol Airport is working to become a dementia-friendly airport.

 

There are quite a lot of resources on our website, which are free downloads. We are continually updating the site as we want to help and support those searching for information. You can contact us via our website: www.bdaa.org.uk

This post was written by Tony Hall, Chairman of the Bristol Dementia Action Alliance.

 

BDAA won a Voscur!

 

tony hall bdaa bristol dementia action alliance voscurs award

 

Tony and the BDAA team recently won a Resilience award at the Voscur Awards for Social Impact.  The award recognises the action the BDAA has taken to build and strengthen its resilience and adaptability to respond to new and emerging challenges.  A big congratulations to you all for a job well done!

 

Find out about Dementia support in your area…

 

Bath & North East Somerset

North Somerset

South Gloucestershire

Dementia Friendly-Dementia Forum

For anywhere else, you can search here

 

Did you know?

 

Wind damage – Don’t wait for the storm to blow over!

 

Why should we worry about a bit of a breeze?

Two words: wind damage. When strong winds are forecast, we naturally look to batten down the hatches and stay safely indoors as much as possible. Whilst your home is your shelter from storms, a good battering from high winds can damage your property in many ways – some expected, some not. A home generally has 4 weak spots in these types of extreme weather conditions. Here is some advice about what to expect and how to cope:

  • Windows

Unsecured windows can be damaged easily, with single panes cracking and breaking or coming away from the hinges. With windows out of the frame as it were, the wind is free to blow through your house causing more chaos. You should shut, lock and cover your windows as best as you can.

 

  • Doors

Similar to windows, open doors can be damaged by clattering into walls – and so can the walls. Glass in doors windows can also crack and break. Even if there isn’t a window, doors that aren’t shut properly can be pushed open by the wind, leaving it free to wreck your belongings and the interior of the house. Keep your doors locked and bolted. A weighted draught excluder is also a good investment – you’ll want to keep warm as well as safe.

 

  • Roof

We naturally think of shingles and tiles coming loose due to a storm. However, roofs are especially vulnerable to wind damage if there is a point of access into the property due to a damaged door or window, as the wind against the walls creates pressure going upwards, increasing uplift force upon the roof. Some roofing parts can be secured or bolted down by a roofing expert. The National Federation of Roofing Contractors may be able to help you find a local roofing specialist.

 

  • Garage

Extreme winds can pull a garage door off its tracks, or even bend or break it with the intense pressure. Double doors are most vulnerable due to the larger surface area. It’s worth speaking to the company that installed your garage doors or a reputable contractor about inspecting them and advising on the best course of action if repairs are needed.

 

How we can help

 

It’s good to be prepared – if you know repairs are needed, get in contact with us as soon as possible. We can check your home’s exterior and interior for any risks, and help to put away or tie down any garden furniture, and your garden shed.

When the winds have stopped, it’s best to check over your property. We can help with this too – we have experience with hidden structural damage and assessing for danger. Our handyman team are skilled in fencing repairs and can give you an obligation free quote. Give us a call on 0300 323 0700, or send us an email at info@wecr.org.uk. Our office is open Monday to Friday, from 10am until 4pm.

Lois and David’s story: Why moving house can sometimes be the best option

In order to stay independent at home, it’s sometimes worth thinking about moving house to meet your changing needs.

lois david moving house housing options wheelchair disabled we care

Lois and David’s story

Lois contacted We Care for advice after her husband David had some falls at home.  David had been advised that he was no longer safe using the stairs at home by a healthcare professional. Lois was in the process of arranging for him to live downstairs in the dining room, which she knew would be very disruptive and impractical for them.

 

David was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and dementia in 2011 and his walking ability has gradually declined over the years.  Lois was aware that David might need to use a wheelchair in the future. Because of this, she wanted to explore the possibility of extending the back of the house to create a downstairs bedroom and bathroom.

 

How We Care was able to help

After an initial phone call the couple agreed to a home visit from Maria, our  in-house occupational therapist (OT).  Maria visited Lois and David to gain a full understanding of the couple’s needs.  The attachment to their home and their desire to continue living there was clear.

 

“It was a relief to get professional advice from Maria and Fatima as I had no idea what to expect or what was needed”

Lois

 

Maria returned at a later date with our technical lead, Fatima. Fatima was able to survey the property to establish what was structurally possible.  Lois said ‘It was a relief to get professional advice from Maria and Fatima. I had no idea what to expect, or what was needed”.

Given that Lois and David live on a very steep hill, Fatima explained that it would be very difficult to extend the property. It would be a timely, disruptive and expensive undertaking if they did decide to adapt their home.

 

Moving house is an option they had not considered

The team recommended Lois and David explore all of their options before making such a big decision.  Lois remembers when the team first asked if they had ever thought about moving, her reaction was very strong. ‘Definitely not!’.  Having spent 18 years making a house into a home, they felt they had too much to lose.  Lois was also concerned about how David might manage in a different environment due to his dementia.

The couple agreed to be referred to our Housing Options service (funded by Bristol Ageing Better) for support with this.  Our case worker, Michael, visited the couple to discuss all of their options and help them make an informed decision.

 

“People are often overwhelmed at the thought of moving home, but it can be the right decision for some, especially when the home environment works against them and their personal needs”

Michael

 

Michael says “People are often overwhelmed at the thought of moving home, but it can be the right decision for some, especially when the home environment works against them and their personal needs”.

For Lois and David, the location of their home on a steep hill was their biggest hurdle.  Even if the home was extended to include a downstairs bedroom and bathroom, David would still face significant difficulties getting up and down the steep driveway. Eventually, this could lead him to become housebound and lessen his quality of life a great deal.

A holiday at Our Bench changed their minds about moving house

Luckily, during these discussions Lois and David had a well-timed holiday planned to an Our Bench Accessible cottage. This gave them the opportunity to experience staying in a wheelchair accessible bungalow first hand.

lois david moving house housing options disabled we care

 

“The holiday made me realise there is a different way of living.”

Lois

 

 

 

Lois said “The holiday made me recognise there is a different way of living.  Everything had become difficult at home and we just got on with it.  In the bungalow, it was all so much easier than going out at our house.  David was able to enjoy going out because he didn’t need to waste energy getting out of the house and up the driveway.  He was able to shower every day and it was so much easier for me to care for him”.

On return from their holiday, Lois realised that although she found the prospect of moving daunting, it would be worth it in the end.  The couple began viewing local bungalows for sale. They got back in touch with We Care for advice on making the entrance wheelchair friendly and installing an accessible bathroom.

Lois said “It was very reassuring to us to know that once we had found our dream bungalow we would have help, support and expertise of the team at We Care to enable us to adapt the bungalow to meet our needs. It was one less thing to worry about”.

They have now had an offer accepted on the bungalow and are looking forward to a new way of living.

 

How we can help you

  • Call us on 0300 323 0700 for a chat with our technical team to find out how we can help you adapt your property. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
  • Or send us a message and we can get in touch with you.
  • If you are considering a bathroom adaptation, you can pop into our Bristol showroom to see some examples of our stylish yet accessible bathrooms

 

Could a holiday in an accessible home help you make your mind up about adapting your home?

 

Lois and David’s stay at an Our Bench accessible cottage was crucial in helping them decide to move to a more accessible home.  Helen’s runs Our Bench with her family.  She says it is not uncommon for those that stay in the accessible cottages to go on to decide to make changes to their homes based on their positive experience.

If you’d like to know more, give Our Bench a call on 07751 064167.

We can help you with your Housing Options. Contact us if you are thinking of moving house to meet your changing health needs.

 

 

 

Getting your home ready for winter

Home Winter - Handyperson

Get help to prepare your home for the winter months

As the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, it is worth making sure your home is ready for the cold winter months ahead. Freezing temperatures, cold rain, hail and snow can all damage your home. That’s why you need to have the exterior checked for any possible gaps in its defences.

Prevention is always better than cure! So it makes sense to hire a trusted handyman or handywoman to do some basic home maintenance to prepare your home for winter. By getting some help now, you can save on potentially costly damage to your home. Plus, you can also ensure that you stay safe, warm and cosy over the season. Having someone check your house could also help to reduce your heating bills, by ensuring that there are no gaps for the cold to get in. Your home needs to be properly insulated to stay warm all winter long.

Our award-winning handyperson service is ideally suited to help with this sort of home maintenance. We have been helping people to protect their homes for the last 30 years and our service is Trading Standards approved.

How to get ready for winter

There are various things to consider to prepare your house for the winter. We can send round a handyman or handywoman to assess what needs to be done. They will look to do things such as:

  • Clearing the gutters: water in places it shouldn’t be will damage your property, so we can ensure the gutters are clear of all obstructions including leaves and any debris
  • Check the roof: we will inspect the roof for wear and tear. We can check for leaks and gaps and ensure the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys are intact.
  • External water pipes: we can check these and consider wrapping them in heating tape to save energy and prevent them from freezing.
  • Fire safety: if you have a wood burning stove we can inspect, clean and make any repairs needed. We can also get chimneys swept.
  • Attic insulation: we can check your attic is insulated properly.
  • Check for drafts: we can check around all doors and windows for any drafts. Caulk any cracks or install weather stripping to prevent cold air coming in and heat being lost.
  • Outside taps: we can ensure that any outside taps are insulated. If you have an isolator valve, we will close the valve and open the tap so that if the water left in it freezes, it has room to expand.
  • Paths, patios and driveways: damaged paths and driveways are a hazard anyway, but worsened in freezing temperatures, so we can ensure you go into the winter with a smooth exterior and fix any damaged areas. We can also clean patios, paths and driveways with a pressure washer so they do not become slippery when wet.
  • Outside lights: we can make sure any outside lights are working correctly so you can see clearly on the dark mornings and afternoons.
  • Tidy the garden: the autumn is the time to cut back any trees, shrubs and bushes. Not only because it’s better for them but also to prevent any damage to the house. We can also pop over during the autumn to clear up the leaves as they drop.

 

How We Care Home Improvements can help

Our handyperson service is set up to help with exactly this kind of home maintenance, and we have been helping people with their homes for over 30 years. You can completely trust our handymen and handywomen, who are all Trading Standards Approved.

 

Get in touch

Our customer service representatives can often provide a quote over the phone. If not, we will arrange for a Handyman or Handywoman to visit you for a free survey.

 

  • Give us a call on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
  • Or, ask for a free quote and we will get in touch with you.