As the covid-19 infections rates decrease and national restrictions are gradually lifted we are thinking about how this may impact our families living with dementia.
Many of our clients have been shielding, so have only had limited contact with essential carers and people in their support bubble and although this social isolation has been very tough it has also kept us all safe. Changing routines and reconnecting with the wider community may make people feel anxious and unsettled.
This is very understandable – we have never lived through a pandemic before and do not know what to expect. Adapting to the changing restrictions and coming to terms with events can be very stressful. Many community services for people with dementia such as dementia cafes and support groups had to suspend their meetings and it will take time for them to reopen and to settle into new routines.
Tips for easing back
- Take small steps: People with dementia and their carers have experienced lots of challenges during the lockdowns. Common experiences include loss of confidence, feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Take small steps back into your previous routines, for example, small local trips out may be easier than planning a larger family gathering.
- Acknowledge the changes: Although care at home may have helped the person with dementia retain some of their daily living skills, it is likely dementia will have progressed and other abilities will have been lost. Test out people’s skills and confidence e.g. plan a visit to a local shop to buy a couple of items and see how they manage before visiting larger shopping centres.
- Prepare for visiting friends: If you haven’t seen friends or family for many months, it’s possible the person with dementia may have forgotten them, share photos and stories about your friends before you meet to help the person with dementia remember. Prepare your friends for the changes they may notice too.
- Stay safe: Although restrictions are easing, it’s still important we follow the government guidance about vaccinations, washing our hands, maintaining space and wearing a face covering where required.
For further tips and advice check out Rare Dementia Support https://www.raredementiasupport.org/coronavirus-covid-19/