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.

Government Advice

The current government advice is for everyone over age 70 or with other health conditions to stay at home for up to 16 weeks. This does not specifically include people with dementia; but if you have other health considerations, or are in any way vulnerable, it may be beneficial to follow this advice. If you are experiencing symptoms, i.e. a new, persistent cough or a high temperature, 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.

Reducing Loneliness

One of the most difficult things about having to stay at home for an indefinite period is feeling lonely.  Having to miss out on family visits or attending day centre whilst not being able to leave the house may make a person feel very isolated.  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. 

Keeping Busy

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 have made a daily exercise video which you can do alongside us all from the comfort of your own chair by clicking here

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 [email protected]

How to help a person living with dementia that you don’t live with

Although you are not allowed to visit your loved ones due to the risk of spreading the virus 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.