Latest Cocooning advice for Older People from HSE

Following the most recent Government announcement on the easing of COVID restrictions on 19 June, there has been some easing of the cocooning restrictions. This article is based on the following page on the HSE website:

From 29 June there will be very few restrictions remaining as a result of the coronavirus.  But as an older person there are things you should continue to do to protect yourself from coronavirus and stay well.  The following advice remains in place for people over 70:

  • stay home as much as you can
  • maintain social distancing with visitors/those whom you visit and use face coverings
  • use the times specially allotted for shopping
  • use face coverings when attending shops or busy public areas


  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • You can have a small number of visitors to your home following the advice below.
  • Wear a face covering when you meet with anyone indoors – ask them to also wear a face covering, if they cannot maintain a 2 metre distance
  • If you have a garden or balcony, spend time outside for fresh air.
  • Go for a walk or drive following the advice below
  • Keep in touch with family and friends over the phone or online if you have access.
  • Keep yourself mobile by getting up and moving as much as possible.
  • Ask neighbours, family or friends to get any shopping or medicine you need or follow the shopping advice below.
  • Use the phone if you need to contact your GP or other services – do not leave your home.


  • Do not attend gatherings of more than 6 people.
  • Do not have any contact with anyone who is unwell.
  • Phone your GP if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

Meeting people from another household

Ideally, choose a small social group and try to limit your meetings to these same 6 people. This will help to reduce your risk of getting coronavirus.

If you have a specific condition which means your doctor has advised against meeting other people, always follow your doctor’s advice.

Meeting people indoors

Wear a face covering when you meet with anyone indoors. This includes visitors and people you visit.

The people you meet should:

  • keep at least 2 metres away from you, if possible
  • wear a face covering, if they cannot maintain a 2 metre distance
  • wash their hands and follow good hygiene practices

If you choose to visit other people’s homes, tell them in advance that you are coming. Make sure that no one in the household is unwell with coronavirus symptoms.

You should stay 2 metres away from other people and wash your hands on returning home. You should wear a face covering if you cannot maintain a 2 metre distance.

People should not visit you if they have symptoms of coronavirus.

After visitors leave, it is good practice to clean surfaces they have been in contact with. Use your usual household cleaning agents and detergents.

Meeting people outdoors

If you choose to meet people you should:

  • only meet up to 6 people
  • only meet for very short periods of time
  • keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other people in the group
  • wash your hands when you get back home

Going for a walk

If you go for a walk, you should:

  • stay local
  • keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other people
  • avoid other people as much as possible
  • avoid surfaces
  • avoid shaking hands
  • wash your hands when you get back home

Going for a drive

If you go for a drive, you should:

  • stay local – keep within your own county or 20 kilometres from your home if crossing county borders
  • ideally share the journey with someone who is living with you or someone in your small social group – you should both wear face coverings
  • keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other people when out
  • wash your hands when you get back home

If you live in a long term residential care facility, talk to your carer about a short walk or exercise. They can help you decide what the safest option is for you.


If you are cocooning, it is best to ask friends or family to go grocery shopping for you. This is because it can be hard to keep a 2 metre distance between you and other people in shops.

If you choose to go shopping, you should:

  • go during the dedicated shopping hours for people who are cocooning – check these with your local supermarket
  • follow strict social distancing guidelines, keeping a distance of 2 metres between you and other people
  • wear a face covering, if possible

Read more advice on shopping safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Medicines and prescriptions

Changes have been to make it easier for you to get your medicines and prescriptions.


If you have a carer who visits you

You should still see people who provide essential support to you.

These include:

  • healthcare workers
  • people who provide personal support
  • social carers

These people can still visit you if they do not have any symptoms.

When carers visit, they need to:

  • wash their hands when they arrive
  • wash their hands often when they are in your home
  • try to stay 2 metres away from you, if possible

If your carer develops symptoms

If a carer develops symptoms, they will not be able to care for you while they are unwell. They must stay away until both the following apply to them:

  • 5 days with no fever
  • 14 days since their symptoms first appeared

Contact the person who arranged your care to arrange another carer.

You should have an alternative list of people who can help you with your care if your main carer becomes unwell.

Living with other people

Even though it is hard, you should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of your household while you are cocooning.

Other members of your household also need to cocoon if they are:

  • over the age of 70
  • have any of the conditions that make them a very high risk from coronavirus

They do not need to cocoon if they are under the age 70 or do not have one of the very high risk conditions.

But they can help you stay well by:

  • following the advice on social distancing and hand hygiene at home
  • spending as little time as possible in shared rooms, for example, the kitchen and sitting areas
  • opening windows to let fresh air into shared spaces
  • using separate towels, including hand towels and tea towels
  • cleaning cutlery, dishes and pans thoroughly
  • cleaning a shared bathroom each time they use it, for example, by wiping the surfaces you have touched
  • cleaning objects and surfaces they touch often (such as door handles, kettles and phones) using your usual cleaning products

Get support if you are cocooning

Community support is available for people who are cocooning.

The support includes help with collecting:

  • groceries
  • medicines
  • other essential items

In some cases, it also includes support to relieve social isolation.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

Staying at home and reducing contact with other people can be difficult.

It may affect your mood and feelings. You may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping.

Things you can try to help you stay well:

  • Keep yourself mobile – get up and move around as much as possible.
  • Go for a walk or meet people outdoors but keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other people.
  • Follow our advice on exercising indoors.
  • Try to maintain a routine.
  • Stay in touch with friends or relatives by phone or on social media.

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