COVID-19 and Dementia – how are you coping?
For many people, COVID-19 and the ‘lockdown’ are bringing exceptional challenges to their lives. For those living with chronic, long term illness, or those supporting a loved one, the weeks ahead may be some of the most difficult faced.
It is vitally important to look after yourself, and any person in your family with dementia during this time. Here are some tips from Dementia UK, which may help.
- You are doing your best.
First of all, remember that COVID-19 has changed the way that all of us live, and we are all doing our best. A person living with dementia may not understand why they must wash their hands more frequently, or why they can’t see or hug their grandchildren, or why they may not be able to follow their usual routine. These will bring many difficulties, but you are doing your best, so please try not to worry, or feel guilty – these are exceptional circumstances.
- Try to be as organised as you possible can.
You may qualify for prioritised grocery deliveries, friends and family and neighbours may be able to help. Speak to your pharmacist about having regular medication delivered. There may be local support groups who can help you too – the nation has an army of volunteers, ready and willing to help where they can.
- Look after yourself.
Day Care Centres and support group meetings are one inevitable loss of the current crisis. ‘Caring for the Carer’ is one of the most important things we can do, so do find some ways to try to give yourself a break, some respite, or a distraction from your duties. Set aside some time for yourself to engage in a relaxing activity, some exercise, watching favourite films or old photographs. Time spent in the garden, if you have one, can be very beneficial.
- Keep in touch.
Make a point of keeping in touch with friends and family. Set up regular phone calls. If you have a smartphone that supports video calls, now is the time to learn how to use it. You will always find someone in your circle who can help you get started, and it can make a huge difference to be able to see your friends and family.
- Give yourself time.
Remember that Pharmacists, GP surgeries and appointments will be very busy, so it may take longer to get though to the right person.
- Help others.
Remember that keeping in touch with your friends and family is important to them, as well as to you. We are all more stressed and worried these days, and a re-assuring call from you may be the tonic that they, and you, need.
A final word from Dementia UK
“Please remember that you never have to struggle on alone. If you have any concerns about caring for someone with dementia through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please call the dementia specialist Admiral Nurses on our Helpline, on 0800 888 6678 or email [email protected].
The Helpline is open seven days a week, 9am-9pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm on weekends.”
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Talking Medicines are providing this content for information purposes only, please consult your healthcare professional for any specific advice.