Information for people affected by dementia
Living with dementia at any time brings everyday challenges for the person and those around them. Coronavirus is making daily life much harder. You may feel anxious, scared or lonely, but you are not alone, help is available.
Arrange food, medicine and other essentials
To stay well, the whole household must have all the medication they need. Your GP or local pharmacist can help make sure you have a supply, either posted to you or for someone to collect.
No-one in the household should go to the pharmacy to collect medicine or supplies, unless this would leave you without essential items. If someone else is collecting your medication they should ring or knock, then use the letterbox or leave it safely outside.
The same rules apply to other essentials like food and household supplies. You could order online for home delivery; supermarkets are putting deliveries for vulnerable people first.
You could ask a friend, family member or community volunteer to pick up a ‘click and collect’ order – or they could shop for you. Again, they must leave anything outside the door for you.
One of the hardest things about staying at home for so long is feeling isolated.
Staying in touch will help you get through and you can ask for help. You just can’t have visitors in the home, other than professionals, for example, a nurse or paid carer.
You may have friends and family who themselves are anxious about the situation. Staying in touch will help everyone to cope with daily life and get through this difficult time. Talking may also help the person keep their language skills longer.
Connect with the people who matter to you by phone, post, text, email or Skype. Use whichever method is most comfortable for you and the person. Apps and social media platforms that allow you to use video calling such as Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom might be worth a try. Seeing someone’s face as well as hearing their voice can make you feel closer.
You could arrange a regular time of day to connect, to help give you structure and something to look forward to.
Develop a routine
A daily routine will make staying at home easier. It can help the person know what to expect on a given day and feel less anxious, especially if they are worried by everything in the news. Try the following tips:
- Put a regular schedule in place – you might find it easier and more reassuring to do things at the same time each day or week. If you find you feel better at certain times of the day, try to arrange activities for then.
- Keep things straightforward – simplify your routine or daily tasks to make them more manageable.
- It might not be possible to follow the person’s routine, for example, if this usually includes several daily walks. Try looking at alternatives based on what the person particularly enjoys – whether that is exercise, fresh air, flowers or hearing birdsong.
- Take things one step at a time – try to focus on one thing at a time and break each task down into smaller steps.
Know where to go for help
If you already receive some support at home, make a list of key professionals and their contact details and keep it somewhere obvious. Store their numbers on your phone if you can. This will stop you having to find contact details at a time when you may well feel stressed or unwell.
Include your GP or other health professionals, your social worker (if you have one), any care agencies or personal assistants who support you to stay independent at home, and any family and friends who usually provide support for you. If you normally have lots of different professionals visit, you could use My visitors book to do this.
If you don’t receive support at home, you may not know what is available. You may not feel the need to plan now but prepare anyway – it will be reassuring for everyone in case you need more help. You can:
- make a note of your local authority’s social services department
- find out about private care agencies in your area, should you need some extra support at home – search our dementia directory
- check which local shops or take-aways offer home delivery, or ‘meals on wheels’ delivery services near you
- make a note of the Alzheimer’s Society phone support number.
In many places, local neighbourhood organisations and community action groups can help you, such as Neighbourhood watch or 'Next door'. Some are providing calls and food shopping for people who live alone or are struggling. Ask them what they are doing near you.
For further details and support networks contact https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/coronavirus-covid-19