Are you looking for ideas on how caregivers can help during lockdown from home? Are there ways to help and give back to the community especially if you been stuck at home shielding since March last year!
Well, helping others can help you cope with the lockdown. Our mental health has suffered during this last year. By giving back to the community, you’re not only making a difference to someone else’s life but inevitably will lift your own emotions and energy as well.
I’m a dementia caregiver and like me you may not have a lot of time to give back but you still want to do your bit to give your support. However, if you’re shielding, then that may be not easy to do.
So here are 10 fabulous ideas of small acts of kindness that you can do from home!
1. Missing Maps
Missing Maps is just great, you can register online to help build maps by zooming in on satellite imagery in OpenStreetMap. You then mark out objects and structures to map out areas where humanitarian organisations have missing map information due to disasters. It allows international and local NGO’s to respond to crises. If you’re into details and supporting humanitarian efforts then this will be right up your street!
2. Volunteer as a telephone befriender
This can involve just 30mins in a week to show kindness, share interests, engage in meaningful conversation with an elder or someone who is just lonely. Hopefully, this can bring some joy, relieve boredom and restore human connection.It’s great for those who love to chat!
Just google “Telephone Befriending service” which will bring up a list of local and national organisations looking for volunteers like Age UK Befriending service who can sign you up and match you with someone in need.
3. Become a Dementia Diarist
This is a UK wide project that brings together day to day stories of those living with dementia in the form of audio diaries. They record their experiences and volunteers type up the transcript.
This is great for getting a better understanding of the reality of living with dementia away from the stereotypical example of older, frail people to those with joy, fulfilled lives, managing day to day obstacles whilst not stopping them from doing things.
It’s not all rosy, but they are great to listen to, and you can follow a person’s journey or listen to them all. But crucially they need people who can transcribe the recording. It’s something I did and hope to do again. You get carried away listening to their experiences as you type, both Mum (with Alzheimer’s), and I learned a lot from listening to them.
If you knit or craft, why not donate to a local charity. Local organisations like hospitals are looking for donations like twiddle muffs, dementia blankets and forget me knot flowers. Check out your local Facebook groups or knit and natter groups to find out where you can donate.
Most local hospitals ask for donations, give them a call and see if they need more. So if you have the skills, knitting, sewing, crocheting, forget me not flowers etc. why not share them and give back by crafting! Here’s a link to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board appeal
5. Become a penpal to someone in a care home
A lot of residents in care homes look forward to receiving mail, it can be a highlight whether it’s a letter, postcard, poem, artwork. It can provide much-needed contact and entertainment to people.
Don’t you remember that feeling when you get birthday cards dropping through the letterbox, or getting a letter from a long lost friend? Well, you can do the same for others. You can contact your local care homes to find out if the residents would like that or search for those care homes already appealing for letters.
Recently, I sent a Christmas card to a resident, John, at Thorp House Nursing Home, thanks to a Twitter friend bringing to my attention the appeal from his care home. I didn’t have anything in the house so I made one using some paints. The news later reported the joy he’d got from receiving thousands of cards.
If you can’t physically post something, then you also have the option of being a digital pen pal through About Only Connect Pen Pals. They’ve linked up with over 300 care homes both nationally and internationally. It’s fab for kids as well!
Check out your local care homes and see whether they are part of About Only Connect or whether their residents would appreciate a postal pen pal.
6. Donate to a Food Bank
Did you know that you can now donate online, so you don’t have to go in-store? Some supermarkets have set up donation boxes, or options to donate during online checkout.
- Morrisons have partnered with The Trussell Trust and have £10 food donation box.
- Tesco allows you to donate your Clubcard vouchers to Trussell Trust, Fare Share charities or others listed on their website.
- Ocado allows you to add a voucher to shop from £2.50, £5 or £10, which acts as a donation and they match that each week (up to £25k) as part of their “You give We give” programme.
7. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is an app that connects the blind or people with low vision with volunteers who through a live video call can help someone find something, read something or communicate with them to solve a problem. Check out the video below and their website for more info.
8. Donate school equipment (computers, printers)
Electronics are now central to our everyday life. Why not arrange a collection from your home to your local schools, local kids, or family and friends with kids of any unused equipment that may be able to support them. Don’t think it won’t matter, however small, it can help especially if you have a family only having access to one piece of technology to do homework.
9. Host a Zoom Class
Why not start a zoom and share your favourite recipe, start a book club or encourage others to join an established care group. Don’t you always feel better, joining something new when you know someone familiar is there also? Some people are reluctant or have difficulty using this technology so helping and supporting others can help them feel secure.
10. Final Act of Kindness
It can be a tiny thing like sending a text, a funny gif, or even putting together a small parcel of homemade treats, flowers or another type of gift to someone you. I’ve seen the power of that on Twitter, so next time think of something small you can do, write a poem, draw a picture, painting pebbles whatever your skillset to let someone know you’re thinking of them. It doesn’t have to be costly.
Well, that’s it – 10 ways you can help someone during lockdown without leaving home! Let me know if you have any other ideas that we can add to this list!
The best thing that we can all do is stay safe and stay at home, but the reality is that sometimes we need to go out to help others, so if you can go out, then there are so many more organisations that could use your help.
Why not join a COVID 19 mutual aid local group, remember they were one of the first to help others in posting those cards below. They now have a website on connecting people, so check them out if you’re not shielding.
Bye for now – till next time!