By now we are probably all familiar with the message that to stay safe from coronavirus we must stay at home. However, it is important to consider that for us all our homes are not going to protect us from all harm that could come our way, this is particularly true if you are living with dementia. As the weeks have past at Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services we have seen an increasing number of safeguarding concerns for the people we support and so this blog is to help give people a little bit of guidance and reassurance about what they can do to stay safe at home.

We are all living through unprecedented times but if you are living with dementia or supporting a family member living with dementia you may well be finding things even more difficult at the moment. Those of you, who we have been speaking to, have been telling us that the changes in routine, the reduction in social interactions and boredom have led to disturbances in sleep, heightening of your dementia symptoms and low mood. These are all perfectly normal reactions to such difficult times, but if you find it is affecting your relationships with the people in your house (E.g. you are arguing more or unable to control your temper) or your ability to look after yourself, or someone you are supporting, please do reach out and ask for help.  

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services support people in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley and we are here for you if you need us 01474 533990. There is also the Kent Dementia Helpline 0800 500 3014, the national Alzheimer’s Society helpline 0333 150 3456 or Dementia UKs Admiral Nurse helpline 0800 888 6678, a listening ear and timely advice can make all the difference. There may be extra support you can access that helps take the pressure off you and your loved ones and help prevent things escalating. Everyone has the right to live in safety, so if you think you may be harmed or may harm another person please get in contact with Kent County Council and speak with their Safeguarding team 03000 41 61 61 (or 03000 41 91 91 out of office hours).

As we are all doing everything we can to connect to the outside world whilst staying at home we are increasingly turning to the internet and our mobile phones. This is a great way for us to stay connected with loved ones and get vital social interaction but there are those who are using it as an opportunity to prey on the vulnerable. There has been an increase in digital scams since the coronavirus lockdown started, unfortunately people living with dementia often fall victim to these scams. Here are some of the things you can do to protect yourself from digital scams;

  • Set strong passwords and never reveal them to anyone. Strong passwords contain a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Ensure that all your anti-virus software is up to date.
  • Never open emails or click on links when you do not know the sender.
  • Never click on links in text messages.
  • Never make ap payment to anyone who has phoned you. Your utility companies and banks would never phone you and expect you to do this. If in doubt put the phone down and make contact with the company yourself, if possible, from another telephone line.

You can also access more information form National Cyber Crime Security Centre, https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home  But if f you think you are a victim of cybercrime or online fraud and scams, report it to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040. It can happen to anyone and it is better to let someone know as they may be able to help prevent it from happening again, to you or someone else.

If you are affected by dementia and living in Dartford, Gravesend and Swanley and think you may need more support during this time please do call us on 01474 533990. We are here to help and want you all to stay home and stay safe.

Joint CEO, Katie Antill