Caring for someone over 70? You need to read this!

About the Guides

Our Hi-VisUK information and guidance series is designed to help those supporting or caring for an older person with Dual Sensory Impairment (DSI) during this COVID-19 emergency and the guidance on social distancing and socially isolating.

Who are they for?

The guides are for the DSI person’s family, friends, neighbours, carers and care organisations, social care and health care providers.

What do they include?

Each individual guide aims to help you quickly understand the impacts of DSI and the extra challenges brought about by the COVID-19 emergency of keeping them and you safe and still having effective communication.

Our guides cover a range of everyday situations and related challenges facing a DSI person and those who need to see them during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Is English your second language?

Each guide is available as a webpage and a downloadable PDF. Using the webpage version means you can use the translate button (at the top centre of each webpage) to choose the language you prefer.

British Sign Language (BSL) users can access the BSL video version further down this webpage or click on this link:

COVID-19 GUIDE #2: Everyday DSI situations

In this second guide, using a question and answer style, we illustrate some common questions that come up and offer tried and tested practical solutions you can consider.

“ Mum has always been a little hard of hearing and now is really struggling to understand what I’m saying from the 2-metre safe distance.”

• Try a personal listener, such as a Minitec device.
• Typically, available to purchase from suppliers on the internet or local Deaf organisations.

“My next-door neighbour can’t hear me knocking on his door, I don’t know what we would do in an emergency.”

• Try a loud / flashing doorbell.
• Typically, available to purchase from suppliers on the internet or local Deaf organisations.

“ We’ve noticed Dad doesn’t ring us as much as he used to do, now he doesn’t answer our calls. ”

  • Perhaps he is struggling to see the buttons on his phone. Try a Big Button phone with amplifier. Perhaps insert photos of key people to quick dial buttons.
  • Typically, available to purchase from suppliers on the internet or local Deaf organisations.

“Granddad always waits for me to call round to make him a cup of tea in the mornings.”

• Perhaps he is scared of scalding himself if the cup overflows – try a Liquid Level Indicator, which will help avoid accidental scalding.
• Typically, available to purchase from suppliers on the internet or local Deaf organisations.

“ We always make sure Mum has lots of microwavable ready meals but often now have to throw them away as they are past their sell-by date. ”

  • Perhaps she is struggling to read the dials on the microwave (or cooker). Try ‘Bump-On’ stickers – small raised buttons which are placed on a microwave / cooker/ washer, so she knows where to press or how far to turn the dial.
  • Typically, available to purchase from suppliers on the internet or local Deaf organisations..

“ Granny told me she tried to warm up a tin of chicken soup but found she’d opened a tin of custard by mistake.”

  • Use an elastic band to fasten a large print label of the tin’s contents.

“ Dad was worried that there was an unexpected caller at his door and was frightened to open it.
Now he is worried that he missed somebody important.”

• All older people are at risk of exploitation at this time and this is particularly so for those with combined hearing and sight loss.
• Ensure that you agree measures to keep them safe. Such as keeping the door locked and chain in place, agreeing ‘passwords’ or phoning to say what time you will arrive.

If you have safeguarding concerns, first talk to the person then, if they agree, make a referral to your local authority’s Safeguarding Team.

Food Supplies – Things to consider:

• How are they getting or ordering food and drink?
• If food delivery is arranged – how are they receiving that delivery?
• How will they know when the delivery has arrived?
• Is the delivery left on the doorstep – can they see it, lift it, carry it and put it away safely?

Learn more online – it’s free

In this most challenging of times, it is even more urgent that we learn how to communicate and protect one of our most vulnerable groups, older people with DSI.

Thanks to support from the National Lottery Community Fund we are able to provide free, practical online learning that will help you get the COVID-19 message across more effectively and support someone with DSI.


For further help or advice please email

Download the Guide

You can also download a PDF of our guides – just CLICK on the image below

Please SHARE these with as many people and organisations as possible.

COVID-19 and Dual Sensory Loss Guides in British Sign Language

Our Hi-Vis UK COVID-19 & DSI guides 1 to 4 are also available on video in British Sign Language (BSL). Each video is also subtitled in English.

There is no sound on these videos. Note: Guide 3 is divided into 8 sections/8 separate BSL videos.