COVID-19 can pose a significant risk to those living with dementia. This is for several reasons, but largely because 95% of those who have dementia are over the age of 65. So far, we know the virus has the most severe effect on older people and vulnerable groups and this is why the government has asked for those in this category to stay indoors for 12 weeks. This is not at all straightforward, but there are ways you can help to make life easier for people with dementia whilst COVID-19 is an active problem.
The below are Alzheimer’s Society recommendations.
1. Is there hand wash or sanitiser available?
Try and ensure this person has access to hand wash and that visitors or carers are aware of it. Make sure to clean things that are handled as much as you can.
2. Can you help with practical tasks?
Maybe there is the need for medicine or shopping to be dropped off, especially if this person is self isolating. According to government guidelines, people over 70 should remain indoors for 12 weeks. Ask how you can help this person.
3. Do they know who to contact should they start to feel unwell?
Make sure this phone number is prominently displayed.
4. Does the person with dementia have access to their medication?
Checking with a GP or pharmacist to make sure their medicine will be available is a good idea. The government is working hard to make sure there are no shortages of essential medicines, but doubke checking won’t hurt.
5. Most people are stuck indoors, gentle exercise should be encouraged where possible.
Staying occupied is tough right now. Does this person have access to Skype or Zoom? Think of ways you can be engaging with technology.
People who have dementia are likely experiencing increased confusion and elevated levels of loneliness, anxiety and fear during this pandemic due to social distancing methods. It’s important we try our best to minimise these feelings whilst keeping these people safe. As a carer for a person with dementia, situations are challenging enough without the added stress of what is taking place around the world. You can reach out for help from Dementia UK at the following number if you are feeling overwhelmed or are in need of advice on how to cope: 0800 888 6678. Alternatively, you can email [email protected]
Below are some helpful links for managing dementia during this difficult period.