For many people across the UK this is a challenging time. The Coronavirus outbreak has seen the country go into lockdown for a minimum of three weeks, with those aged over 70 being advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks.

Of course, nursing homes in Worthing and elsewhere across the country have stopped letting families visit their loved ones to prevent the spread of the virus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still keep in touch.

Modern technology gives us a range of options when it comes to communicating with our loved ones.

Age UK has created a host of useful tips on how to get your loved one set up to receive video calls, for instance. This could mean that the whole family can get together online and spend time chatting and sharing stories.

If your loved one is in a care home, find out whether they have any computers, laptops or tablets available that they could use to receive a video call from you and your family. Or if they have their own device, talk them through how to download an app such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger or Skype.

How straightforward this will be will largely depend on how tech-savvy your loved one is. Once they have got the relevant app installed on their device, it’s best for you to call them. Explain how to answer the call if you think this is something they might struggle with.

If you want to have video calls with multiple people in the family all at the same time, apps like Skype or Zoom are the best ways to go.

You can set up the video call and share links with all of your loved ones via email to ensure that they can all log into the same virtual space at the same time. If you’re concerned that your loved one might not find this that easy, get in touch with their care home to explain what you’re planning and when and we’re sure they’ll help you out.

Of course, there are plenty of older people who don’t have many close friends or relatives and we’re doing what we can to help them feel less lonely during this time too.

As our CEO Suzanne Millard recently explained, at Guild Care we have created a dedicated Facebook group called ‘You’ve got a friend in me’. This gives people an opportunity to send messages, pictures and videos to our residents. You can send anything you think might cheer them up and bring a smile to their faces. It really does all help.

The National Bereavement Alliance has put together a guide for keeping in touch when you can’t be with someone who is so ill that they might die. You can find the guide here.