Age UK Northamptonshire begins to relaunch face-to-face services to support older people across the county
Written by Chris Harris on May 15, 2020
Age UK Northamptonshire is delighted to be relaunching some of its face-to-face services following the government’s most recent advice. Services such as domestic care, gardening and the handyperson service had been suspended due to COVID-19. The government’s announcement on Sunday evening advised that people who can’t do their jobs from home should be encouraged and supported back to work if COVID-19 regulations can be met.
Feedback from Age UK Northamptonshire’s staff and volunteers who are currently delivering emergency food, prescriptions and hot meals to older people across Northamptonshire is that domestic care, gardening and handyperson services have been desperately missed. Many clients with mobility issues and health conditions find completing jobs around the house and garden very difficult and in many cases, things like cleaning aren’t being done at all. This poses a significant health risk, especially at a time when older people are being encouraged to self-isolate at home.
Age UK Northamptonshire’s handy person and gardening services relaunched on 1st May and are available to people aged 60 and over living in Northamptonshire. Handyperson staff can attend to emergency needs such as replacing light bulbs, fuses and plugs, dealing with trip hazards, supplying and fitting grab rails and police-approved key safes. The domestic care service is relaunching on 1st June and is available to people aged 55 and over living in Northamptonshire. They can help with domestic duties such as cleaning kitchens, bathrooms and toilets, changing bed sheets, vacuuming and dusting. All staff are reference-checked and DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked to ensure client safety.
While government guidance is due to be released about how to keep safe at work, Age UK Northamptonshire had already made adaptations to these much-needed services so that they could be delivered safely. All staff are observing the 2m social distancing rule and gardening and handyperson staff are only entering homes if absolutely necessary. All staff entering the home are wearing masks and following hand washing protocol. All work is being invoiced to avoid cash being exchanged.
The three services are the first paid for services to be relaunched, generating revenue to help the charity continue to support older people. They also provide a lifeline to older people as staff can undertake a regular welfare check as part of their visit, ensuring that they are eating, taking medication and signposting them where necessary.
Su Brazell, Senior Service Manager at Age UK Northamptonshire, said “These services have always been much more than cutting the grass or cleaning the kitchen. It’s an opportunity for human interaction and regular monitoring of our client’s health and wellbeing. We provide a trusted service that lifts the spirits of our clients and keeps them safe in their homes.”
Pauline, Age UK Northamptonshire client said of the handyperson service “When I called around local handy people, I was told that my job was too small, so I was delighted when Age UK Northants could help. One of their staff, Owain, came round and even gave me a lesson in the different sizes of drill bits and types of wall plugs. Having my job completed has made an amazing difference. It really was a job well done, I can’t thank Age UK Northamptonshire enough.”
To find out more information about Age UK Northamptonshire’s services, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/northamptonshire or call 01604 611200.
Age UK Northamptonshire’s COVID-19 appeal is still open to any individual, club or business who would like to donate during this difficult time: justgiving.com/campaign/coronavirusappealAgeUKNorthamptonshire