A Derby based Assisted Living firm has praised volunteers for stepping into the breach to help ‘at risk’ groups in the community during Covid19, but has concerns that the process is creating an additional risk.
Locally We Do, which offers bespoke living assistance services for the elderly and disabled, has found from their experience that many – especially those who have just been discharged from hospital, struggle to bend over to pick things up let alone shopping, putting them at risk of having a fall.
Damian Doras (43), Managing Director at Locally We Do, which offers Domiciliary care home help services including shopping, said: “Many elderly and disabled clients may not have the mobility or strength to carry and put away their shopping, increasing the risk of them having a fall.
“The community spirit at this time throughout the country, is extremely heart-warming, but we are finding that the usual people with experience who pre COVID-19 were carrying out shopping and home help services for the ‘at risk’ groups, have stopped, and these people have been replaced by volunteers who don’t know the individuals personally, and are not best equipped to assess their wellbeing.”
Damian added: “This may be because they think the Government has classed them as ‘non-essential services’, or perhaps they don’t have the COVID-19 procedures in place, but this is leaving a big hole in the ongoing care of these “at risk” individuals.
“To many of these people, having someone to not just do and deliver their shopping, but to assist them with disinfecting it and putting it away and checking on their well being, is vital for their continued health, wellbeing & safety in their home – something which can change daily let alone during weeks of isolation due to COVID-19.
“One of the biggest risk factors for such “at risk” groups are falls in their home or garden due to poor mobility and poor maintenance of their gardens and homes and placing their shopping on a doorstep just increases that risk. ”
According to NHS figures, 69 percent of people who have a fall over the age of 65 don’t recover their mobility or pass away within a two-year period, something which Damian says needs to be taken seriously.
Damian who has run Locally We Do for over five years, along with his wife Helena (38), said: “We are suggesting that volunteers are made aware of such risks and to leave shopping on a table or raised surface outside the door closest to their kitchen, if this could be arranged safely so as to reduce that risk.
“We are continuing to assist the ‘at risk’ groups in their own homes, carrying out a full range of home care services despite the threat of the Virus because we have our COVID-19 procedures in place in line with Government guidelines. This enables us to monitor how they really are and are feeling in themselves. We can then take relevant steps if they are in need of additional assistance. This level of care plays a vital pro-active role in maintaining their wellbeing and on the whole is missing. Having a friendly familiar face at such an immense time of loneliness is invaluable.”
Chris Griffin (55,) from Spondon, uses the services of Locally We Do for his 90 year-old father, he said: “The initial project with Locally We Do was for a deep clean, as my father had been in a care home for a short time. They helped to deep clean, prepare and reconfigure the house, and they now provide a weekly clean for him, doing the hoovering, washing and laundry.
“As we were so happy with the service, we have since given them other tasks such as fitting TV brackets and fixing some steps. I am using Damian and the business to do the tasks that I don’t have time to do, and I am confident that they are respectful and careful with what they are doing during Covid19.
“I have been very impressed with the communication that they provide. They will text me when they arrive and leave, and they also provide statements of what they have done – Their consistency and reliability is refreshing. If you have elderly people living alone, they have things which need doing, and it is a tremendous weight off my shoulders.”
For more information, please visit www.locallywedo.co.uk