Covid-19 - How you can help

As we continue to unite against Covid-19, there is lots we can all do to support people living with dementia in our communities. 

The outbreak has reminded us all that we all need to stay safe, well supported, loved and connected. Covid-19 is likely to have had a big impact on all of us. These are just some of the ways it may be continuing to affect people living with dementia:

  • People living with dementia will often have difficulty understanding what is happening
  • They are likely to have difficulty remembering hygiene and social distancing recommendations 
  • Their opportunities for connecting in person with their usual support networks such as support groups, café clubs and day programmes may well not have resumed yet.

The changes brought about by Covid-19 may also be leaving care partners experiencing increased feelings of loneliness, fatigue, anxiety and stress. Help and support services, such as respite care, may be working differently or may no longer be available.

What you can do

Maintaining regular social contact is a great way you can help. Here are some others tips and suggestions to get you started. 

  • Check in regularly. You might like to consider setting up a family or community roster for this.
  • If they are confident using technology, you could keep in touch with video calls. If not, see if they would like to give it a go with your help and leave them with some instructions to look back at later on. 
  • See if any of the grocery or medication delivery services are continuing. If they found these helpful, they might like to carry on with the arrangement.
  • If you haven’t already done so you could leave your contact details with neighbours so they can get hold of you if they have any concerns. 

Talking to others who you also know are supporting people living with dementia will be helpful too. 

Emergency Support Plans

If they don’t already have one, helping someone to prepare an emergency support plan is also a good way you can help. Emergency support plans contain essential information to help the person with dementia and care partner if their routine is disrupted.

You could also offer to help them complete their plan. 

Get an Emergency Support Plan here

Once the Plan is completed make sure others know about the plan and where is can be found. 

If you are worried about someone

There could be a number of reasons why a care partner or person with dementia doesn’t appear to be coping. You may notice that they seem withdrawn, sad, angry, short tempered or appear tired/exhausted. This may be due to:  

  • Fear or anxiety
  • Health concerns or the impact of the changes on wellbeing
  • Stress or conflict within the household
  • Lack of personal space causing fatigue and burn-out
  • Withdrawn or reduced support services and or social interaction with family, whanau and friends

What you can do to support them

  • Talk to them about how they are feeling, ask them what you could do to help
  • Continue to keep in touch and check in to see how they are doing
  • Encourage them to do some self-help activities such as meditation, mindfulness, getting out for a walk or into the garden
  • Suggest they take a look at these tips on how to cope with loneliness
  • Remind them that they can call or text 1737 at any time to speak with a trained counsellor, or visit the Mental Health Foundation website for support
  • Encourage them to talk to their GP, especially if they are looking unwell, have increased agitation or are not eating well.