Dave and Audrey are in their 80s and are a retired couple. They have lived in the street for over 40 years.
Dave is a keen golfer and plays bowls regularly. Audrey has mental health problems and is very shy and softly spoken.
They both provide some care for Audrey’s brother Malcolm who lives 5 miles away in a sheltered housing complex for adults with physical disabilities.
Malcolm is disabled and has used a wheelchair from a very young age. He doesn’t need any carers as such but he relies on Dave and Audrey to bring him some shopping and to change his bed for him every week
What the pandemic has meant for them:
- Dave hasn’t been able to see his friends and he is worried about his team mates in the bowls club. He knows he is getting older and worries that if he cannot get out and about over the summer, the following winter will be very challenging. He needs his sports activities as a break from Audrey.
- Audrey finds the whole pandemic situation very overwhelming, she doesn’t know how she will cope if Dave becomes ill. She thinks she might struggle with going to the shops and talking to people. She isn’t used to going anywhere on her own. She has been trying to get used to wearing a mask but finds that people struggle to hear her and she gets embarrassed having to repeat things.
- Audrey has been watching the news reports about the coronavirus cases and she is really frightened about the figures increasing. She watches this religiously every day.
- She is worried about helping Malcolm in the complex. There are some shared communal areas and she doesn’t know if they are cleaned properly. But if they don’t visit Malcolm, he will have to get carers. Audrey is worried that if Malcolm has carers they might take the coronavirus into his home and that could be the end of him.
- Malcolm now thinks he might have to get carers if Dave and Audrey can’t help him every week. He doesn’t want strangers in his home. He thinks that if his neighbours see people coming in wearing masks and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), they will think that he is infectious and a risk to everyone else. He will also lose his privacy.
- He is concerned that if Dave and Audrey don’t come to visit him anymore he will become more isolated. He doesn’t have many friends and enjoys listening to Dave’s stories about the golf club and bowling gangs.
- Malcolm doesn’t know if he will be able to find carers now and this might even mean that he has to go into a care home. He knows that this means that he will have no visitors at all and will have truly lost his independence. He feels that this is the beginning of the end.
What we did in this kind of situation
- CHCs across Wales discussed with WG how the daily figures on coronavirus were worrying for people and sometimes potentially misleading in some areas.
- When HDCHC heard from companies and people wanting to donate PPE, we put them in touch with the right people in the Health Board so that this could be managed quickly.
- We also heard directly from some care home settings and from care home workers who were struggling to get enough PPE and we directed them to the Health Board to resolve this.
- HDCHC discussed with the Health Board how our local care homes were managing and places where people live communally. We identified that some places were struggling with staffing levels as people were frightened of the coronavirus.
- HDCHC asked the Health Board about coronavirus tests for carers. We heard how relatives far away from their elderly parents or other family members were worried that there were lots of opportunities for coronavirus to be brought into a home. Some people told us that they had carers several times every day and this could greatly increase their risk.