#HomeHeroes: Supporting Your Family During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated 09/07/2020 at 12:10

While we're all spending more time at home, there are lots of ways we can help out our family to keep connected, stay safe and be well. Here's just some of the ways you can join the #HomeHeroes club! 

Be a digital champion  

Help family members stay connected

Your parents or carers might not be the most tech-savvy, which is where you can help! Help them keep in touch with their friends and the wider family through video chat apps. Use your skills to teach them how to use things like Zoom, FaceTime and Houseparty.

Keeping in touch with the people we are missing right now is really important for our mental wellbeing, and your parents and carers also get a new skill too! There are lots of great how-to videos on YouTube to help if you're unsure how to use any of the tools. 

Give them a hand with online shopping

Shopping online can help your family get the food and necessities they need, without having to visit the supermarket. You can help by setting up an online account for a supermarket and making sure that they are only buying from reliable places online. We've got a handy guide on how to stay safe when online shopping.

Some key tips you can pass on are:

  • look for a padlock next to the URL
  • there's no rush; take time to think about what you're buying
  • if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • be suspicious of people contacting you out the blue with an offer

A lot of supermarkets are experiencing a high volume of visitors online at the moment, make sure to book a slot first before you fill your online basket. If the person you're looking forward is high or extremely high-risk, they might also be entitled to additional help from the government to access food and neccessities. You can find out more on the Ready Scotland website.

Help them spot scams

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people using the current pandemic as a way to take advantage of people and take their money from them. 

HMRC (the people in charge of things like taxes) have examples of scams currently making the rounds and also list the reasons why they will get in touch with people. This can help you and your family spot a fake email/text from someone pretending to be HMRC.

Why not take our Spot the Scam quiz and brush up on your cyber skills?

Support grandparents or older neighbours from afar 

Help them get what they need

If they've received a letter saying they are in the 'shielding' or 'extremely high risk' group, you could help them get their food shopping. 

Also, think about other things they might need to help them every day. Do they need hearing aid batteries, medication, things to keep them busy (like puzzle books/crosswords/jigsaws)?

If they're okay to do the shopping, some supermarkets have specific times and delivery slots for older people to shop to help protect them from the virus. Age UK has compiled a list of supermarkets who are helping older people. 

If you think they could use somebody to chat to or might need some advice then they can phone Age Scotland on 0800 12 44 222. It's free to call and is open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.

They also have a really good website full of lots of information and advice.

Be a super saver 

Figure out where you can save cash

It's a difficult time financially for lots of people right now and your family might be struggling with money, especially if someone in the house has lost their job or has been furloughed.

You might be able to help. Do you use more than one subscription service (like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV)? It could be a good idea to cut down to save some money. Or why not cancel things like sports channels on top of your normal TV package. There might be other things that you aren't using right now, or free alternatives online that you could use instead, helping your family to save money. 

You could also see where you can save money when doing your weekly shop.

Help them find support

Do your parents or carers know what benefits they could be entitled to, or extra support they could get with managing their money at the moment? From things like mortgage payment holidays to new coronavirus (COVID-19) support offered by the government, make sure they aren't missing out. 

Citizens Advice Scotland have lots of useful information, so make sure they know to look there too. 

They can also chat to the Money Talk Team on 0800 085 7145.

Be a hygiene expert 

Help them look after their health

One of the most important things you can do to combat coronavirus (COVID-19) is to wash your hands. This is really important if a member of your family is still out working - make sure they wash their hands as soon as they get home. 

Check out these tips on how to look after yourself during the pandemic. 

Read the NHS tutorial on how to wash your hands or watch below.

Be a culinary champ 

Some parents and carers might still be going out to work, or working from home. Why not let them relax after work by cooking dinner every so often? There are loads of great tutorials online that can help you cook up a storm. You gain a really useful skill (think about when you move out!) and your parents and carers have one less thing to worry about after work. Plus, if you can rope any siblings into the washing up after, that's even better! 

Check out these recipes from across the globe for some inspiration.

Be a sibling superstar

Keep them entertained

If your parents or carers are out working or working from home, making sure to look after your siblings can really help them in a time where they might be feeling a bit more stressed or anxious.

Playing video games is a really good way to bond with your siblings and get your brain going at the same time. Why not work together to build something epic on Minecraft or get competitive with a couple (or several) rounds of Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros? 

Help them with school work

You might not feel up to doing school work that isn't your own (especially since exams are cancelled this year) but helping your siblings with their work can be a good way to refresh your memory and help you get the basics down - which is really useful if you're learning more complex subjects!

You can look at the BBC website for some help if you're stuck with things. 

Who knows, your younger siblings might be able to teach you a new thing or two! 

Be a travel mastermind 

What to do to if you have a holiday booked you don't want to go on  

If you want to cancel a flight you’ve booked in the future, you might not be able to get a refund yet. But if your flight has been cancelled, Citizen's Advice has information on how you can get a refund.

If your parents or carers have booked a package holiday (when flights and hotels are included) then here's how they can get some money back.

Be a general genius 

It can be useful to chat to people going through similar things. Why not let you parents or carers know about sites like Parent Club which can help them as they try to adjust to changes to their daily routine.

Parentline Scotland also has a really good website and phone service full of advice and support. They can call them for free on 08000 28 22 Monday - Friday, 9am to 9pm and Saturday - Sunday, 9am to noon.

Be a pet minder 

Keep you and your pets healthy

Dogs need outdoor time to keep them healthy and active. You can take your dog out for a walk as part of your outdoor exercise. Remember to keep your dog on a leash during this time. When they aren't outdoors, try other ways to entertain your dog while in the house by playing new games or teaching them new tricks - they might help you make your next TikTok video!

If you have a cat that tends to wander around the neighbourhood, you should try to encourage them to stay closer to home. This can include putting a litter tray indoors for them or playing with them more at home. 

If you have horses, make sure to go feed and water them.  If you are on a livery with horses owned by other people, you should try and share the responsibility to minimise the number of trips and people heading to the site.

You could also think about finding a potential relative or a friend to look after your pets in case you begin to display symptoms or have to self-isolate. 

The SSPCA suggest avoiding petting, snuggling, sleeping with, being licked and sharing your food with your pet and to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after you come in to contact with them.

More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19)