As of today 24th July 2020, the government have made it compulsory for anyone aged 11 and over in England to wear face coverings in shops, public transport and inside NHS facilities.  Face masks or coverings will help you to prevent the spread of coronavirus to other people should you have contracted the virus.  You will also be less likely to catch it from someone else if you are wearing a face covering. 

You are more at risk of catching or spreading coronavirus in enclosed spaces as without the fresh air the virus becomes more concentrated, therefore wearing a face covering can help to reduce some of this risk. If you would feel safer wearing a face covering even when you’re just outside, then feel free to do so. 

Do people living with dementia have to wear face coverings?

Although it is compulsory to wear a face covering there are grounds for exemptions if there is a reasonable excuse, including:

  • Wearing a face covering would cause a person severe distress
  • Someone with them needs to their lips to communicate
  • They cannot physically put on or wear a face covering
  • They need to remove the face covering temporarily to eat, drink or take medication.

If you are challenged by someone as to why a person is not covering their face, let them know that they have a diagnosis of dementia and that is why. From most supermarkets, you can also get exemption cards or hidden disabilities sunflower lanyards which can reinforce this visually. 

What can I do if a person with dementia refuses to wear a face covering?

It might just be that they don’t understand or have forgotten why wearing a face covering is necessary.  Try explaining to them calmly the reasons why and see if this helps.  It’s also a good idea to make sure the covering fits and is comfortable, you can then adjust it accordingly.   Could it be that they are worried it might affect their breathing or its reminding them of a past experience which is scaring them?  Provide some reassurance but if it is causing too much distress then you can use this as a reasonable excuse and the person will be exempt from wearing a face covering. 

For more information please visit the Gov website