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Covid-19 Primary Care Resources

How should I advise my elderly patient who has become anxious about leaving the house?

Advice from a Liaison Psychiatrist specialising in Older Adults

This information is sourced from Dr Jayati Das-Munshi, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist for Older Adults

Q. What advice would you give to older patients to enable them to go out/prevent social phobia?

A. I’d suggest a ‘graded exposure’ approach:

  • Initially accompanied (eg with family or volunteer, unaccompanied) for short (few min) walk (socially distancing)
  • Then once they have done this a few times build up to a short walk alone in a well known area
  • Aim to take small steps (increasing exposure) every day

If there are issues impacting on mobility (eg. frailty, concerns around falling) then ensure these are also addressed (GP could advise exercises at home if deconditioned etc) as a ‘pre-step’ to going outside. This resource is very good for these populations