Care Homes – keeping in touch with loved ones

Care home lockdown: how are you keeping in touch with your loved one?

People are telling us they are worried about care homes continuing to be closed to nearly all visits.

They understand it is safer for residents and staff and the extra efforts made to maintain the quality of life in the homes, but after six months, people say they can see the effect on their loved ones, and their own, health and wellbeing.

It seems the situation may go on for some time yet.

Sharing good practice could help make this difficult time a bit better. If your relative, loved one or friend lives in a care home we would like to know what is being done to keep you in touch day to day and on special occasions like birthdays.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc.) or telephone calls – does the home support these? How many times a week and how long? Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits – does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how for long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health), for example, manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and one-to-one activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

You can tell us your experiences at one of the ways here on our contact page, text us  on 07413 385275 to make an appointment to speak to one of our team, or come along to our public online forum  around these issues on Wednesday 11 November, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.


Contact the Elderly logo

Sunday afternoon tea parties for older people

Contact the Elderly is a national charity that changes the lives of lonely and isolated older people. Many people aged 75 and over spend their days alone, isolated from family and friends and often too frail to leave the house without a bit of help.

The Contact the Elderly Sunday afternoon tea parties bring older people and volunteers together for an afternoon of stories, laughter and conversation. Teas are provided in the home of a volunteer host and all drivers have enhanced DBS checks/references and use their own car and petrol.

There is no charge to take part in Sunday afternoon tea parties and there are plenty of places available across Northumberland.

If you would like to join please contact Valerie Walker, North East Development Officer on: 0191 242 0186 or email:


Front cover The Golden Guide 2018

The Golden Guide 2018

The Golden Guide Northumberland 2018 – Out Now

The new The Golden Guide for Northumberland is out now. This free guide lists local activities, clubs and social networks for older people and is also full of information for finding expert help with health, care, community and money issues.

Explore the great outdoors with walking, wildlife and gardening groups, take up woodwork, singing, sport or make extra cash by starting a business, as many over 50s now do. The guide also has more on befriending schemes, dementia and mental health support, and contacts for tracing lost money, or help claiming your pension or other entitlements.

Look out for the feature on ‘How to Retire in Northumberland’. If you’re about to retire or already have, you can find helpful hints about making the most of it, from planning your finances to enjoying your extra free time.

Copies are available from us here at Healthwatch Northumberland, Age UK Northumberland, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Voluntary Service, GP surgeries, libraries, Alzheimer’s Society, Citizens Advice Bureau, British Red Cross and selected Boots UK pharmacies across the county.



Postal copy

If you can’t get out, or can’t find a copy ring us on 03332 408468 or contact Age UK Northumberland on 01670 784821 and you can be sent one in the post for free.



The full edition is online at

For all enquiries please  Heather Alabaster on: 0191 386 5918, or email