As the lockdown starts to ease and we all look to getting back to a greater sense of normality many older people will want to start their own shopping again. Whereas this might feel like a real positive step individuals need to be aware of their own personal risk.
If you have been sent a letter by the NHS urging you to “shield” away from wider society you should be very cautious about discarding this advice. In the first instance you should speak to your GP, or specialist who sent you the letter and then discuss with your friends and family. If you have received a letter from a specialist organisation such as Diabetes UK they may also be able to provide you with some advice.
If you are considered vulnerable our advice would be not to reduce your shielding processes until you are given credible and consistent advice from a reputable source that it is OK to do so.
However, if you do not fall into such a group and you do want to start your own shopping there are some things you can do to make this experience safer.
How to make the shopping experience safer
- Contact your favourite shop and ask them if they have dedicated shopping times for older people.
- Ask them if they have a system for older and more infirm people, helping you to avoid the lengthy queues and being ushered straight in
- Check what their rules are for:
– Social distancing whilst browsing
– Maximum number of shoppers allowed in at any one time
– If they provide hand washing facilities
– What is their process for disinfecting trolleys and baskets
– Is there plenty of hand sanitizer
– What their cleaning routines are for shelves, fridge doors etc.
- When choosing which shop to use consider the answer to the above questions as well as your normal preferences
- Consider how you will get to and from the shop, you would do well to avoid public transport, but taxis could also present a risk of infection. Black Cabs if available (because of their separate air system for driver and passenger) or mini bus because of their size might be better.
This is not written to be a definitive guide to shopping safely but a list of considerations. Make sure you look at the latest government and medical advice and discuss with a loved one before making any decisions. If in doubt err on the side of caution and stay safe. If you know of any other top tips why not share them with us by emailing Jenny@Greensleeves.org.uk