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Your Later Life 2020

Top tips for carers on keeping connected during COVID-19

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Helen Walker

Chief Executive, Carers UK

The isolation many of us have felt during this time is not a new issue for unpaid carers. If you’re caring for someone, it’s important to try to not let your own needs slip. Take time to look after yourself and make sure you feel connected with those around you.


While COVID-19 and the lockdown have brought challenges for many of us, it is fair to say it has been an especially challenging time for unpaid carers looking after a family member or friend who is older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness.

If you’re caring for someone, it’s important to try to not let your own needs slip – take time to look after yourself and make sure you feel connected with those around you.

Why not try the following suggestions to stay in touch with the people you know?

Make time to call family and friends

It’s reassuring to know that, during this time, it is possible to communicate easily, even from far away.

Making time to pick up the phone to call family members, or friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, can help.

Carers have been quick to make use of video conferencing services to communicate with friends and family living elsewhere – instant messaging apps are also popular.

Reach out to your neighbours

The ‘circle of care’ for many carers and the people they are looking after has become bigger thanks to community responses to coronavirus, with neighbours coming forward to help unpaid carers with accessing food, other supplies and providing moral support too.

Reach out to your neighbours if you haven’t already and let them know that you need help on an ongoing basis – they may be able to lend a helping hand.

Connecting with others

Talking about and sharing your feelings with someone who understands can be a massive relief and release.

Carers have been making use of supportive online groups and sources of help, including Carers UK’s online forum and our Care for a Cuppa video chats, where you can connect with other carers facing similar challenges at the moment.

Look after yourself

Don’t forget to take time for you. Combat any rising anxiety levels by setting a strict time limit on how much you read about coronavirus on social media and in the news.

Make sure to allocate a time slot in your day for an activity you enjoy – whether it’s to read, write, paint, cook, do some gardening or knit.

If you’re a carer looking for advice and information go to www.carersuk.org.

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We all want a good later life. What can we do to prepare?

Louise Ansari

Director of Communications and Influencing, Centre for Ageing Better

Today’s 50-year-olds are likely to have an astounding 36 or more years to live. So those of us approaching later life need to think very differently about what those extra years will hold.


Most of us want some pretty fundamental things when it comes to later life: good health, financial security, to have good relationships with friends and family and live in a home where we feel safe and warm, in an area we like.

But many people are worried about a deterioration in both their physical and mental ability to work, get around, and do the hobbies and pastimes they love, as well as having enough money to get by or deal with unexpected events like having to pay for care.

We know that many of these factors need structural change in the work, housing and health systems. But there’s a lot we can do ourselves, too.

Being able to walk to the shops or to services, like the GP, can make a huge difference to our wellbeing, and so too does living in a community we feel connected to and part of.

How can we get ready?

Take health, for example. Just a few minutes a day of activities to improve our strength and balance can reduce our risk of falling and keep us healthy and independent for many years longer.

Our homes play a vital role in this too. Having a home that’s suitable for our changing needs – with adaptations like grab rails or walk-in showers – means we’re able to stay safe in our own home as we get older.

The area where we live matters hugely. Being able to walk to the shops or to services, like the GP, can make a huge difference to our wellbeing, and so too does living in a community we feel connected to and part of.

Of course, one of the most crucial areas of planning for later life is finances.

Many of us haven’t thought very hard about how long we’re likely to live, and how much we’ll need to save for retirement – but this is storing up problems for the long-term.

We all need to take a long, hard look at how much we think we’ll need, and how we’ll save for it.

Your guide to later life
My book, When We’re 64, is a guide to all of this. It’s filled with expert advice to help you think differently about the adventure that is later life, and how you can make the most of it.

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