Face Covering Exemption Cards Now Available

Face coverings have now become compulsory when using public transport in shops and supermarkets to help keep yourself and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some people have a legal reasonable excuse why they are unable to wear a face covering and are exempt from wearing one. You will be exempt from wearing a face covering/mask if you:

  • are a child aged 11 or under
  • have a disability
  • have a learning disability or Autism
  • would experience server distress putting on, wearing or removing a face covering/mask
  • have any communication needs that require you to lip read
  • have a health problem or condition that could be affected by wearing a face covering for example, problems with your breathing
Download your exemption card here
How to wear and make a face covering

Gov.uk has outlined some simple steps you can follow to help you make and wear a face covering with ease. Visit the website here

“I just miss the physical contact of holding her hand.”

Lockdown has been strange for everyone, especially for John who hasn’t been able to see his wife for three months.

John and his wife have been happily married for 45 years. During her early 60’s his wife, Lesley, was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia which changed both of their lives. She spent the next five years living at home with John as her primary carer. But as her dementia progressed, John found it difficult to care for her full time so he made the difficult decision to place her in a Nursing Home – where she has been since 2014.

At the Home she has round the clock care available to her, and John has been getting to know the other families of the residents that live with her also. John had a routine where he was able to see Lesley at meal times, but since 9th March 2020 the Nursing Home decided to close its doors to all visitors due to coronavirus.

He was not allowed to visit his wife for 3 months which he said “I found it hard as I was so used to visiting her and now there is that lack of close contact which I miss.”

Whilst he was unable to visit, he has been keeping busy at home by gardening, walking, listening to music, calling people as much as he can, as well as having his Carers Support Groups over Zoom with Sally and Vicky from Hertswise Dementia Service.

“I get upset sometimes as at first I was not able to see my wife, family or friends so I felt very isolated by myself.”

– John

He continues: “I am now allowed to visit Lesley, although it has to be outside 2 metres apart, I have to wash my hands and wear a mask.  I just miss the physical contact of holding her hand, but I am grateful that I now get to see her – even if it is for 15 minutes once a week.”

John, 72

Hertswise on BBC Radio 2

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With thanks to the wonderful Anne-Marie, Hertswise Staff Member, Hertswise, Age UK Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Mind where given a shout out on BBC Radio 2 by Phil Williams. She spoke about who Hertswise are and how they adapted since COVID-19.

To listen, click on the following link and hear the clip from 34.44: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000jhb7

How my life has changed since lockdown

Since Boris Johnson announced lockdown on the 23rd of March 2020, the lives of my husband and I have changed dramatically.

As we are both over the age of 70 and my husband has dementia, we were classed as vulnerable and had to isolate from our friends and family. Isolation has been difficult, and even more so because I am carer and have not been able to receive any physical help with the care of my husband.

Independence for my husband is nearly non-existent. I have to do most things for him like helping him out of bed, getting him dressed and helping him at meal times. With the amount of support I have to give him, it seemed an impossible task for me to go to the supermarket with him and join three queues before I’ve even entered the building.

Due to this during the first week I ordered my food online and it arrived quickly and it was super easy. I was like a little child when we finally were able to have a full food shop in our house. Since that first week It has been impossible to gain a food delivery slot from any supermarket, and I learnt that carer’s have not be given ‘first slot delivery’,  I feel as if ‘we as carers have slipped through the net’.

Luckily, I have had tremendous help from different Hertfordshire organisations such as, Age UK Hertfordshire, Hertswise, Crossroads and Nightingale. I can’t fault any of them, especially Hertswise who I would give 101/100 for the support they have given me.

The team have bent over backwards helping me in any way they can. I have especially been grateful for the calls I have been receiving from Vicky, who has been calling me every week without fail – I love the chats we have!

Since my husband and I have been unable to go to our usual Dementia Hubs, we have been receiving ‘Activity Boxes’ from Open Art Box. Each week we have had a delivery of different activities such as embellishing tiles, creating our own bunting for VE Day and crafting together mobiles.

We have been very lucky with the amount of support we have been given since lockdown, I can’t thank Hertswise and Age UK Hertfordshire enough for what they have done.

Lynne, 73 years old

Client Thank you’s

“I thought I would just re-establish contact to convey my sincere thanks to Sam our Hub Co-ordinator for kindness and support to the hub members during the unprecedented time of lock down. Please pass on my sincere gratitude to Sam and I hope that at some stage, when safe, the hub will resume. I do not think for one moment any members have taken it for granted but without respite like our hub life has been extremely challenging.”

Community Hub Attendee