Coping with Lockdown Lifting and Support for the Vulnerable
Living under lockdown has been nothing short of an endurance test for many as we have been forced to stay inside and reduce social contact. We have longed for the relief of seeing friends and family again, yet as we adjust to the path out of lockdown, it comes as something of a shock to realise that acclimatising is not easy.
Removal of the restrictions brings change, and change can naturally cause anxiety and confusion in us all. However, we are navigating this amid our own personal circumstances, and the effects are felt very differently:
For those experiencing vulnerabilities
It may be that after months of staying in, you will have reduced physical mobility, or lost confidence in going out and about. It may be that lockdown has brought disruption to a routine which is hard to recover from.
The important thing is to take things at your own pace and to manage the shift in small steps. Thinking about things you enjoyed doing before the lockdown, and how you might adapt those activities so that you can still enjoy them in a way that is safe and achievable, can help. Let other people know your limits, and do not feel pressured into moving ‘back to normal’ too quickly. Planning ahead can make some tasks more manageable, such as shopping at a quiet time, and taking a list.
Keeping your confidence up can also help manage the change by maintaining and gradually increasing the move back to a more active life. Remembering to keep a level of contact, however small, with relatives and friends, will help maintain social confidence. Trying to remain active, even if you’re not able to get out of the home, perhaps by going up and down stairs, using the garden, and doing exercises, can also help.
For those living with sight loss or mental health conditions such as dementia, following current guidelines can present difficulties. The government has produced badges and lanyards for those exempt from wearing face coverings and who find socially distancing hard, all downloadable from their website gov.uk. This is also a good source to find out about changes in restrictions.
If you do find that you are needing further support to deal with your day-to-day affairs, granting Lasting Powers of Attorney can be an effective way to manage this. There is sometimes a perception that once appointed, attorneys will take over decision-making, or that you need to have lost mental capacity for them to act. In fact, the role of the attorney is to assist only where required, and only to the level needed to help you come to your own decision, if that is possible, and you do not have to have lost mental capacity for them to provide help with financial matters.
For those with vulnerable loved ones
You may be worried about contracting or spreading the virus, and how to protect each other as lines become blurred over following ever-changing guidelines. Both government and charities have up-to-date information on their websites, and they are particularly useful in relation to the rules surrounding visiting care home residents, and the criteria homes should consider in making decisions on allowable visits.
It may be that, with the restriction of services, support in the form of care packages has either been withdrawn or reduced, and you are left with a greater burden of care. Again, charities are useful sources of not only information but connection with other services who are able to assist.
Longmores can provide legal support. We can advise you on acting for your loved one, if you are already appointed as an attorney or deputy, including making applications to Court for approval of proposed course of action, or we can help with applications to Court to become appointed as deputies. If you need someone to shoulder the burden, we can act as attorney or deputy regarding financial issues. If the person you are supporting has recently increased needs, we can advise on funding, benefits or needs assessments on going into a care home, or liaising with authorities on issues relating to continuing care.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.