How to safely visit an elderly or vulnerable person

Now that shielding of the elderly and vulnerable has ended, many people in the UK will be wondering if they are ready to be reunited with their loved ones. In this article we’ll talk you through the steps of how to safely visit an elderly or vulnerable person, now that shielding is over. 

Planning ahead:

In order to keep an elderly or vulnerable person safe when you are visiting, it is best to follow the latest government advice on social distancing. The three things you should ensure you do are:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands before visiting, and regularly whilst in their presence. 
  • Keep 1 metre plus distance away from them, and try and meet outdoors
  • Wear a face mask, especially if you cannot maintain social distancing

Carefully consider:

Coronavirus might be able to spread through the air, and definitely spreads through contact of the same surface on which infected droplets have landed. It is best to remain outdoors for the entirety of your visit. This means you may want to consider the weather when planning the trip: try to set aside three potential days for your visit, and confirm the day nearer the time, by consulting the weather forecast. 

In order to reduce the chance of transmission through touching the same surfaces, consider carefully what things you will need when visiting. Make sure to bring your own hand sanitiser, water bottle etc. If you will be eating during the visit, it is probably best to bring your own food and cutlery. You should also consider where you will use the bathroom when visiting. 

On the day:

People who’ve been shielding are especially vulnerable to severe sickness from COVID-19 and you should not visit them at all, if you have any reason to believe you might have COVID-19. This means if you have any symptoms at all, you should cancel your visit. Equally, if you have been in contact with someone who showed symptoms, you should cancel your visit. 

However, it is worth bearing in mind that four out of five coronavirus cases are symptomless. This means that you may well have COVID-19 without showing any symptoms, or you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19 who was showing no symptoms. 

The best way to be sure that you pose no risk to your loved ones, is to get tested for COVID-19. Tests can pick up even symptomless infections, and can tell you for sure whether it’s safe for you to visit an elderly or vulnerable person.