Coping with dementia during Covid-19 is no walk in the park, but there are ways of assisting people during the pandemic that can really make a difference.
Claire, one of our Patient Engagement Coordinators at St Pancras Clinical Research and also a Dementia Friends Champion out of hours, has put together some helpful resources and suggestions for those navigating Covid-19 with dementia.
Why has the pandemic been particularly difficult for those with dementia?
For all of those with Dementia, the loss of routine and prolonged isolation in light of Covid-19 has had a huge impact on these individuals and their families.
Keeping active and staying socially connected can be of benefit, but this depends on personal symptoms and circumstances, such as how well someone may feel each day, and to what extent they wish to socialise or be active.
What can we do to help?
For some, a loving smile or voice is all that’s needed, and a check in to make sure they’re doing ok. Others may want to stay active and connected with family and friends as much as possible, but the key is simply to walk alongside the person with Dementia, even if it is from afar.
Observe and listen closely to their needs, so you’re able to understand what’s best for them in each moment. It will be different for every single family, each doing their best to live with this illness called dementia.
Quizzes, brain teasers and mindful colouring
Activities such as online quizzes, brain teasers and mindful colouring can support the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of those with dementia as we adapt to a new way of living alongside Covid-19. The Dementia Directory has some helpful brain teaser suggestions aimed to stimulate the mind.
We know access to food and medication are necessities for the welfare of people with dementia, however social connection and interaction is particularly important to help them carry on living as well as they can, with their often challenging symptoms. There are community based resources you can tap into via the Alzheimer’s Society Support Directory.
People with this illness may have been mentally, emotionally and physically affected more than other vulnerable groups during this time, simply by the loss of social connection and how this impacts them due to the nature of their illness.
Dementia friendly volunteers are doing all they can to make sure this vulnerable group of people stay active, socially connected and live as well as they can with their dementia symptoms as we all adapt to a new normal, and a more physically distanced life.
There very useful weekly resources are available to anyone to access at a new Community online space, and please check out an excellent national resource for carers to help with day to day social connections. You can also utilise Dementia Diaries. Dementia Diaries allows those with dementia to blog via an audio diary about their day to day experiences and is a great tool for those with dementia to connect virtually with others traversing the same illness.