From midnight on 27 March until 12 April everybody must stay at home except in specific circumstances

In particular, people aged over 70 and people who are extremely medically vulnerable are to remain at home and not venture out at all but instead "cocoon" themselves from Covid-19.

Many people are struggling to adhere to this tight restriction on movements. Below is some information that may help those who are concerned about certain aspects of cocooning and about how they can stay at home and what help is available to them.

Local support 

The country's local authorities are co-ordinating through forums the work of State agencies, charities, private companies and thousands of volunteers to ensure that elderly and vulnerable people get any help they need during the current emergency. 

Many local authorities have already established call centres to receive requests for help and re-direct them to the appropriate organisations. 

Each forum has set-up a helpline for people to contact, which will operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Health 

Other parts of the health service are continuing to operate and if someone needs urgent or emergency care they should go to the emergency department or call an ambulance.

People should attend medical appointments unless they have been cancelled.

Keeping well

The HSE advises that you keep yourself mobile by getting up and moving around as much as possible. If you have a garden, backyard or balcony go out and get some fresh air. But keep more than 2 metres away from people from outside your household.

Stay hydrated and try to avoid alcohol if you are not feeling well.

Stay in touch with friends or relatives by phone or on social media.

Social isolation, reduction in physical activity, unpredictability and changes in routine can all contribute to increasing stress. Many people including those without existing mental health needs may feel anxious about this impact, including support with daily living, ongoing care arrangements with health providers, support with medication and changes in their daily routines.

If you are receiving services for your mental health, learning disability or autism and are worried about the impact of isolation please contact your keyworker/care co-ordinator or provider to review your care plan.

Religious services

In response to Covid-19-related restrictions on public gatherings, RTÉ will air Mass every weekday at 10.30am from St Eunan's and St Columba's Cathedral, Letterkenny, on RTÉ News Now.

It will be followed at 10.55am with 'With You in Spirit - Messages of solidarity and hope'.

RTÉ News Now can be accessed on Saorview (channel 21), Sky (521), Virgin Media (200), Eir (517) as well as via the RTÉ Player, the RTÉ News Now app and via RTÉ.ie/news.

In relation to attending funeral services, immediate family members can still attend funeral services providing social distancing rules are respected.

The number of people allowed to attend a funeral has been limited to ten people. Those who are in self- isolation are unable to attend services.

State pension payments 

Alternatives to collecting payments from post offices are available, such as the ability to nominate a person to collect a pension.

You can download the nomination form here.

Payments remain valid for 90 days at the date of issue and it is possible to collect a number of payments at the one time.

Beginning 23 March, the payment of Social Welfare in post offices will be brought forward by a week resulting in the payment of two weeks of Social Welfare payment.

The timing of the payment will be dictated by the customer’s particular scheme or benefit type. 

This will enable customers or those nominated to collect payments on their behalf to maintain social distancing and plan shopping and household budgeting over a two-week period. 

An Post has more information on its services on its website.

Helplines

ALONE As well as difficulties with everyday activities like getting groceries, cocooning measures will also result in lots of older people feeling lonely and isolated, including those who may not previously have identified with this experience. ALONE is encouraging older people to contact them on their national helpline 0818 222 024.

Age Action A Covid-19 Hardship Fund has been launched by Age Action in conjunction with the Irish Red Cross to respond to the immediate needs of older people in vulnerable situations across Ireland experiencing additional hardship as a result of the Covid-19 health crisis. 

The Covid-19 Hardship Fund Application Form is available online or you can contact their offices to request a form by contacting: Email: hardship2020@redcross.ie, Phone: Irish Red Cross at 01 6424600 or Age Action at 01 475 6989.

Fraud and scams
The Government is advising people to always double check random or unexpected emails, calls or texts requesting personal, business or financial information. Check out fraudsmart.ie for more guidance. 

Information

The Health Service Executive has an online hub with information related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has published the latest information, advice and guidelines related to Covid-19 on its website gov.ie


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What is cocooning, and who needs to do it?
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