Know your rights: Supports during cocooning

What exactly is cocooning and who does it apply to?

Older people need to minimize their risk of infection by staying at home during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This is called cocooning and is advised for everyone over 70 and other medically vulnerable people.

Even within your home, you need to minimise all non-essential contact with other members of your household. If you have been advised to cocoon, you should not go to the shops, leave your home or garden, or go to any gatherings, even if you feel fit and well. You should also avoid all non-essential face-to-face interaction. Instead, you should stay connected to friends and family through the phone or internet.

While some older people can rely on family, friends and neighbors during this difficult period, many will need additional supports.

If you are worried about getting food and medicines while cocooning, the Government has advised older people to arrange support from family, friends and neighbours, and to use online services where possible. Local authorities have established community support helplines that you can call if you need assistance while you are cocooning or self-isolating. You can find information on how to contact your local authority.

Visits from people who give older citizens essential support â€“ such as washing, dressing, and feeding – should continue while adhering to physical distancing guidelines as far as possible. However, if you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during a cocooning period, talk to your GP or specialist to make sure you continue to receive the care you need.

ALONE is providing a telephone support line, seven days a week from 8am–8pm, for all older people and their families. You can ring 081 822 2024 for advice, reassurance or additional support. This support line is also open to medically vulnerable people. You can visit to read more about Cocooning during COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
  • Your local Citizens Information Centre: find the phone number on the Find a Centre page on
  • Our email channel: email, include your telephone number and and an information officer will call you back within 2 working days.