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Armley charity chief offers advice on how to help elderly during Coronavirus crisis

The head of a West Leeds charity has issued the following guidance on how to help older and more vulnerable people in the community.

Dawn Newsom, CEO at Armley Helping Hands, said many people had been asking how they can help and support their community and older people living in Armley and Wortley.

On Friday the charity announced it would be stopping their activities and groups with immediate effect in a bid to help stop the spread of the virus and protect its members.

Ms Newsome said in a statement:

“Wash your hands frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue

“One of the ways we become infected, or pass on viruses to others, is through the droplets in coughs and sneezes – for instance through someone who has a virus, coughing onto their hand, then touching a door handle.

“A simple and effective way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus is by making sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or a hand sanitiser if you are out and about. It’s particularly important to wash your hands once you get home or arrive at work or before you prepare or eat food.

“Offer assistance to at-risk neighbours. The Public Health England consider the elderly and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease to be at higher risk from the coronavirus. If you’re in a lower-risk group, reach out to your higher-risk neighbours and community members and ask them how you can help.

•             Ensure the person you are looking in on is eating well and has tinned meals and soups in the cupboard.

•             Whether by picking up prescriptions and groceries or offering other assistance. Even if they’re already fully stocked, simply sharing your plans with one another can be helpful, particularly as people spend more time at home instead of out.

•             Make sure their living rooms are heated to around 210C and bedrooms to 180C if possible; cold air can increase the risk of chest infections

•             If they have to go out, ensure they wrap a scarf around their mouth and nose. This will stop the cold air going into their lungs and reduce cross infection. Also encourage them to avoid public transport and areas with a high population. Encourage they wash their  hands frequently with soap and water, or a hand sanitiser

“Plan to stay in touch from afar.

“As COVID-19 spreads, we’ll continue to see more people asked to work remotely or from home, more school closings, more cancelled events, and other measures associated with social distancing. Start putting a plan in place now for how you’ll stay in touch with loved ones, friends, neighbors and co-workers, even when you’re not physically seeing them.

“Donate to your local food bank or to Armley Helping Hands. As the virus spreads, food banks could face additional pressures and Armley helping hands will struggle to access grocers and medication.  We are asking for donations including

•             UHT Milk, Tea & Coffee,

•             Bottle Water,

•             Cereal (Porridge, cornflakes and Weetabix)

•             Tinned food  including soup, meat and vegetables

•             Frozen ready meals,

•             Toiletries and cleaning products  including Toilet Rolls, Sanitary Pads, Disinfectant, and bleach.”

All donations can be dropped off  Monday to Friday at Armley Helping Hands, Strawberry Lane Community centre, Strawberry Lane.

If you suspect that your elderly or disabled neighbours in Armley or Wortley are socially isolated or self-isolating or are experiencing limited support, contact Armley Helping Hands directly. The organisation can deliver food parcels.

Call 0113 2799292 during office hours or call 07775 621933 out of hours or e-mail Dawn.newsome@armleyhelpinghands.org.

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