Seeking support during the COV-19 pandemic as a Dwarf person is essential. The last few weeks have been a baptism of fire as society adjusts to the new normal of lockdown, social distancing and social isolation. It is particularly worrying for our community in terms of accessing online shopping and NICE’s guidelines which have been a cause for concern.
Last week was particularly stressful personally when trying to find out whether I would be classed as a vulnerable person, as well as a late-night or two trying to get an elusive online delivery spot booked.
I’ve felt pretty helpless and lost as well, so this is my contribution which I hope can go some way to helping anyone else who is feeling lost and overwhelmed with the speed of change.
While this list is not exhaustive, I thought it would be a good idea to give a few pointers as to where to turn during this time. If there is anything of use that you think would be of benefit – please do comment below.
Registering as an extremely vulnerable person
You can register with the government as an extremely vulnerable person. This list is now being used by the main supermarkets to determine who has priority to online shopping.
I choose the rare disease option (as Russell Silver Syndrome is often described as such). You may hear from the supermarkets first to say you have been identified by the government and given priority booking.
Help with shopping and prescriptions
If you find that you are not accepted as an extremely vulnerable person, contact your local council so they can signpost you to the appropriate service that can help you with shopping.
One of the main issues for us as a community is it is near impossible for us to adhere to social distancing measures currently in place. Especially in shops when we rely on the kindness of strangers to help reach items from the shelves. Let alone be able to cope with the pain and social anxiety we would have if we had to stand for hours outside of a supermarket to buy groceries. Make sure you tell your local council this is the reason why you are reaching out for support.
You’ll be putting yourself (and potentially others) in danger of infection if continue to go shopping and require a certain level of help.
If you’re over 55+
Contact Age UK for advice and support.
Physical And Mental Health
With many people social distancing or isolating – it can and will affect our mental health. For many of us in the Dwarfism community, I imagine it is triggering feelings of trauma from having to fight to gain support in the past.
At this point, it’s ok to focus on surviving and it’s important not to put pressure on yourself. Many of us have worked hard to gain a certain level of independence and adaption to be able to do ordinary, everyday tasks. These are extraordinary times and now is not the time to be proud either – if you need help – ask! (I struggle with this one)
It is vitally important to look after our minds and bodies during this period. If you find yourself struggling – do reach out.
Below are a number of ways you can do this:
- If you are in crisis and need to speak with someone urgently – please call The Samaritans on 116 123 (England. Scotland, Wales and Ireland),
- You can also contact your local mental health services – add your postcode into this page on the NHS website to find out where. You can also search for NHS Initial Response Service in your area via Google.
- Mind Mental Health Charity is also a resource that you can tap into.
- Comedian, Tanyalee Davis, is doing some great dance classes for disabled people too. to help keep us moving. Be sure to follow her Facebook Page.
- If you can manage something a bit more energetic – then check out PE with Joe on YouTube.
- Also, tap into your local, small businesses who do yoga or pilates – they may be offering online classes at this time. Taylored Fit Physio, up here in the North East, have a range of online classes – including Pilates and Yoga for adults and kids.
Money and Financial Difficulties
If you have been furloughed in your job and are struggling financially, you can register for Universal Credit.
Talk to your bank or any bill providers about payment holidays over the crisis.
It’s important to keep connected to your friends, family… and your community at this time.
- Firstly, try and limit the amount of time you spend watching the news, reading, social media the papers or listening to the news on the radio about COVID-19. I’ve found dipping in and out at certain times has helped me cope a lot better with what’s going on.
- Arrange regular online chats with friends – whether that’s via Facebook Messenger, Skype or Zoom.
- Read, write, paint, knit – be creative – do something that helps distract from the current situation.
- Looking after kids – check out BBC Bitesize. From 20th April 2020 – the BBC will be delivering daily lessons for school children in Years 1 to 10
- If you are registered with your local library service – take advantage of the e-book and e-magazine service. Usually, you will need your library card number and library card PIN.
- Follow the LPUK Facebook and Twitter accounts – Rebecca is doing a fantastic job of sharing classes, activities and signposting to appropriate organisations for support.
Over to you
If there is any information or signposting of organisations that would benefit the Dwarfism community please comment below. Any tips, online resources and classes that you’ve loved participating in or watching? Please share them below.
And remember – stay home, stay safe!