Tips on keeping safe and busy during the Covid-19 pandemic

For Riverside tenant, Victor Andrews, it isn’t the first time he has had to take precautionary measures during a pandemic, as he had to deal with foot and mouth disease in 2001 when he owned a small holding.

The 67-year-old lives at Church Court retirement living scheme in East London and is chair of Riverside’s national tenant group called Riverside Customer Voice. Here he shares tips on how to stay safe during the Covid-19 outbreak and what he has been doing to keep busy while the lockdown is in place.

Victor Andrews_Chair of Riverside's Customer Voice.

When the lockdown first began, I thought I’d take additional precautions before venturing outside to do food shopping or exercise, similar to when there was the foot and mouth outbreak.

Before moving to Church Court, I lived in the Essex countryside and had riding and livery stables. I remember the strict controls we had to adhere to contain the virus. Disinfectant was our friend. We dug a shallow ditch across the gateway, lined it with tarpaulin and filled it with diluted disinfectant. Vehicle tyres and footwear could spread that particular nightmare, so wellington boots were also worn as they were easy to wash in a bucket of disinfectant.

So, this time round out came my black bucket with disinfectant to wash my wellies and rubber gloves for when I return to prevent me catching the virus and spreading it. I prepare a quarter of a bucket of diluted disinfectant before I go out, and wear rubber gloves while doing my food shop then wash them in the disinfectant immediately when I return. I still wash my hands with soap as an extra precaution.

This ritual is carried out every time I step outside, even carrying rubbish to the communal bins.

Victor Andrews_Chair of Customer Voice.

I’ve been keeping busy with activities during the lockdown. I enjoy walking along the River Roding nearby as part of my daily exercise. It’s lovely to watch the wildlife as I follow the riverbank.

I keep in regular contact with fellow Executive members of Riverside’s Customer Voice, emailing them each week and inject a little humour but always being conscious that someone could be extremely anxious about family members or grieving.

For the past several weeks I’ve been waking up early, but there are plenty of programmes on the television to keep me entertained. Using Whatsapp has been a blessing, as it has helped me stay in contact with my two grandsons. I heard the youngest say “Hello Grandad” for the first time and he is putting more words together each time I see him on the screen, which just shows how quickly they change and grow.

I have always been a prolific reader from a young age, although books have taken a back seat the past few years. So, the lockdown has been a good opportunity to start reading again, I’ve read four books so far.

Another hobby is quizzing, and there’s plenty of them to do online – that keeps my mind busy. I have also been compiling family quizzes during the lockdown, it’s great fun when we get together on screen. On one occasion we had over 80 family and friends from around the world all connected together via Zoom to celebrate my niece’s 60th birthday.