Whether you have a diagnosis, or you’re a carer, relative or friend of someone with dementia, I aim to try and share some of my knowledge in how to cope and adapt some of the everyday conversations or activities you do. Everyone has different symptoms and behaviours and I hope some of the following may help. These can be put into action and trialled during the current lockdown and after.
I have gained and adopted the coping strategies and distraction techniques whilst working in several health care settings caring for people at different stages and with varying dementia diagnosis`. I have also taken an active role to support loved ones, as well has having personal experience in caring for my 3 grandparents who had Alzheimer’s.
Staying connected has become a big saying lately and it has taken many forms of interpretation. How have you been staying connected?
Recently family and friend dynamics have changed, this has been something out of peoples control. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken many into unknown territories. Within my team we have had numerous phone calls on a daily basis, speaking to carers who have been having great difficulty in finding a balanced life for themselves and their loved one with dementia. We cannot express how important it is that you reach out for support, especially during such times of uncertainty.
There are many ways of staying in contact with your loved ones and each method will have their own benefits in one way or another.
- For those who are able to, video calling on various platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp or Facebook has opened a world of virtual communication for social groups, families/friends staying in contact. At Alzheimer`s and Dementia Support Services we have used all three of these platforms to offer support by: initial support assessments, support groups and welfare calls via video.
- People have started to write letters again, even if they live close to the person they are writing to. Emails and other forms of written communication such as Facebook messenger, Facebook group are also being made use of.
- A lot of us are making phone calls more often and communities have been providing support via telephone volunteer befrienders.
Staying connected helps maintain relationships, reduce anxieties, have a sounding board, offers reassurance and support, avoid complete isolation and can reduces tension building up.
Emily Forster, Dementia Support Deputy Manager