Information and Advice
The world is facing incredibly challenging times due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and we recognise that people affected by dementia may feel anxious.
It’s important to remember there is support available and no one has to battle through this alone, we are here for you. You can call the 24hr Kent Dementia Helpline on 0800 500 3014.
The current government advice is for everyone to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with other people. If you do go out you must keep your distance from people (2m apart) and ensure you wash your hands regularly to reduce the risk of transmission.
If you are experiencing symptoms i.e. a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss off/change to your sense of smell/taste you are advised to stay at home for seven days, if you live alone. If you have symptoms and live with someone else, or the person you live with has symptoms, you are all advised to stay at home for 14 days. We advise everyone to read the government guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection, which includes specific information for those living with a vulnerable person.
It may be difficult for people with dementia to understand why they should wash their hands more frequently, or why their loved ones are trying to avoid physical contact. You will need to decide to sleep separately or stay two metres (three steps) away from each other, this may not be possible and you can only do what’s best for you.
We advise taking some time to plan for foreseeable future how you will manage things such as shopping and prescriptions. Online grocery delivery may be an option, repeat prescriptions could be delivered or friends and family could be asked. to do this for you. If this is not possible, contact us for support and guidance.
With lockdown measures now relaxing reducing loneliness is likely to be a little easier as you can now get out and about as long as you are adhering to social distancing measures. Having to miss out on family visits or attending day centre may have made a person feel very isolated, so if appropriate why not have a day out or a socially distanced lunch. If you are unable to see your loved ones it is important for you to keep in touch with them regularly either by phone, post or if possible, you could even set them up to video chat with you. Keeping that connection to the outside world is vital to a person’s wellbeing and you can worry less knowing they are at ease.
If you care for someone living with dementia you may find that with many day centre and support services being suspended, you are struggling to find that bit of respite these groups provide. It’s important you both stay busy and keep active so try to set up different activities to do throughout the day. Puzzles, books, crosswords are all a great source of stimulation especially for a person living with dementia. It will also be beneficial for you and the person you care for to take part in some gentle daily exercises to keep you mentally and physically well. If you can take a route where you can socially distance from other people and stay at least 2 metres apart, why not take a walk? Especially as we are having some remarkably lovely weather at the moment!
We also have activity packs available, if you would like us to send one out to you please give us a call on 01474 533990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to help a person living with dementia that you don’t live with
Although you are not allowed to visit your loved ones unless you are in their garden and 2m apart you can still drop off items to them if necessary. Give them a call and find out what they are running low on. It’s important that they have an adequate supply of soap and hand sanitiser as well as enough food to keep them in good health. If the person is taking medication make sure that they have access to this, keep in contact with their GP or pharmacists to avoid them running out of medication.
It’s important to ask the person how you can help, they might simply want you to bring their favourite film round or a puzzle for them to do.
We have devised a list of conversation starters that you can use if you are calling your loved ones, just to keep the conversation flowing and put any anxieties at ease.