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Staying safe

Being asked to stay at home can be more worrying for some than others. But we are here to help.

I don’t have symptoms of coronavirus but I feel unwell – can I still get help?

There are a number of reasons why you might be worried about getting medical help at the moment. Perhaps you’re worried about the NHS being overloaded, or you may be worried that going to hospital might put you at greater risk from coronavirus. These are understandable concerns, but you shouldn’t put off accessing care and treatment if you need it.

The NHS is still there for you if you need help with your physical or mental health. They also have processes in place to keep people who need face-to-face appointments safe.

Looking after your health is just as important now as it was before – if you think you need help, do not feel guilty for asking. You’re still able to speak to your GP if you’re feeling unwell, although this may happen over the phone rather than face-to-face. If you feel you need a face-to-face appointment ask your GP to see if this is possible.

If you need urgent medical help, whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, you should contact 111 or call 999 in an emergency.

I'm worried about being scammed. What can I do?

Lots of people are offering to help and support to anyone in their communities who are staying at home. Although the majority of people offering help are genuine and do so for good reasons, sadly, there may be some who try to take advantage of this situation for their own gains.

If someone you don't know offers you help, try to find out more about them. You don't need to accept an offer from someone who turns up on your doorstep. Ask where they live and how you can contact them before you decide you need help.

The Police and Action Fraud have asked everyone to follow this key advice:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it Action Fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Age UK has lots of information and advice on how to stay safe from different scams, whether they be on the phone, in an email or at the doorstep. Find out more here

For more information see our COVID-19 Scams Awareness Guide and for information about potential fundraising scams and clarity about how we fundraise see our Charity fundraising Scams Guide

What can I do if someone I live with becomes abusive?

Domestic abuse is any form of abuse committed by a partner, former partner or family member (this includes harming older parents).

People often think of domestic abuse affecting younger people, but any person, any age, any gender can experience it.

Living in close proximity with someone for a prolonged period can potentially worsen any existing issues. If you are self-isolating and live with someone who you feel at risk from, seeking help may be difficult especially if you're reliant on them for help.

If this happens there are people you can speak to and there is help available. You can get support and advice from:

  • Call the Age UK Advice Line (8am –7pm 7 days a week) 0800 678 1174
  • Adult Social Services at your local council
  • Your GP or other NHS health providers
  • Domestic Abuse helpline 0808 2000 247
  • The Silver Line 0800 4 70 80 (24 hours a day)
  • Action on Elder Abuse helpline: 0808 808 8141
  • The police – you can call the local police on the 101 non-emergency number or call 999 immediately in an emergency.

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.

 There's more information on protection from abuse here

Can house repairs and adaptations still go ahead?

If you are a private renter, your landlord is still obliged to carry out repairs. However, they should only be making essential repairs at this time. Some examples of essential repairs are:

  • If there is a problem with the fabric of your building, for example the roof is leaking
  • If your boiler is broken, leaving you without heating or hot water
  • If there is a plumbing issue, meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • If your white goods such as fridge or washing machine have broken, meaning you are unable to wash clothes or store food safely
  • If there is a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door
  • If equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair.
  • If you own your property, then you are still able to make urgent repairs.

Older or disabled people who require adaptations to their homes are also able to have these completed. However, local services may be providing a reduced service so you may have to wait longer. Any contractors coming into your home must follow safety guidance. This includes washing their hands when they arrive for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and staying at least two metres away from people in the household. For the full Government guidelines see here.

Households which are self-isolating because of suspected coronavirus or where someone is being shielded are advised only to carry out works to remedy a direct risk to safety – Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households in such cases.

Download our guide to staying safe

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Last updated: Nov 04 2020

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