Elder Tree Policy on Coronavirus
As an organisation that works with the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to health issues, it is important to keep ourselves up to date on the latest information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As with all respiratory viruses, it is likely that the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable.
In light on new information given by the Government on Monday 16th March, Elder Tree will be suspending all groups from now on. Project Workers will be in touch with all our beneficiaries, but groups and activities will not be running.
The Government has advised that everyone should avoid social gatherings and non essential travels. We ask that everyone do their best to stay well and to look after yourselves and each other.
As before, our advice is to:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Wash hands after touching frequently handled objects and being in public areas. Especially take care to wash hands before eating.
- If anti-bacterial wash or gel is all you can access, use it.
- Be aware of the risk of transferring infection through surfaces, use regular cleaning products to clean and disinfect surfaces.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Do not use your hands. If you use a tissue, throw it away immediately.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
As many have found, panic buying in the face of Coronavirus has left many elderly and vulnerable people unable to access food and other essentials . In response to this some shops have put measures in place to provide for the elderly and vulnerable. Many are introducing more staff to re-stock shelves and drivers to deliver food bought online.
Sainsbury's has been in contact with Elder Tree to let us know the measures they are taking. They are giving elderly and vulnerable customers priority delivery slots. Creating more 'click and collect' collection sites for those who can make it to stores. Closing meat, fish and pizza counters along with cafe's to free up staff in store. They are also introducing limits on groceries: a maximum of three lots of one item for most grocery items, and a maximum of two for items in high demand like soap, toilet paper and UHT milk.
Sainsbury's is the only shop that has been in contact with Elder Tree, but they are not the only ones introducing similar measures. Many shops are setting aside the first hours of opening times for elderly and vulnerable customers as well as NHS staff. Many are also prioritising elderly and vulnerable customers for deliveries and ensuring there is enough staff to keep shelves stocked.
The most important message to take from supermarkets is that there IS enough food for everyone as long as they only buy what they need for themselves and their families.
Elder Tree has been in touch with the National Trading Standards Scam Team and Friends Against Scams to deliver some information regarding avoiding scams in this time when many elderly and vulnerable people are in need of help. They would like to re-iterate the government and NHS guidelines about maintaining good hygiene; only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, and stay two metres away from other people outside of your household. It is particularly important for people who are over 70 and/or have an underlying health condition.
Things such as Facebook Community Groups, WhatsApp Groups and the Nextdoor social network that send neighborhood alerts can be great ways of staying in touch with those around you. As these are online and not in person please be aware of who is trustworthy.
Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:
• Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
• Home cleaning services
• People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
• Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
• There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
• There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
• Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
• People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
Tips to avoid being scammed:
• Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
• Take your time; don’t be rushed.
• If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of helps if you are unsure.
• If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.
• Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
• Know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local Council on the numbers below.
• Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
• If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
• Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.
To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ and complete the free online training.