COVID-19 and dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease International of which we are a member is presently sending out information to Associations across the globe focusing on the response of all of us to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is worrisome times when family members are faced with how to address this virus and how it will affect their loved ones living with dementia.

COVID-19 is a new viral infection that presents an unprecedented problem for everyone, including people with dementia and their families and carers worldwide. Although the scale and impact of COVID-19 varies from country to country, at an individual level, people affected by dementia and their families and carers are having to cope with rapidly changing information and guidance at a time when they have been asked to isolate from their regular support systems in the wider community [ADI]

.Families caring for someone living with dementia can feel cut-off, overwhelmed and anxious as current thought suggests that older populations and those living with complex health conditions are at greater risk. People with dementia are also more likely to be negatively impacted by social isolation, anxiety and confusion from worrisome news in the media and be at greater risk of behavioural changes, confusion and delirium during this period – putting them at risk of being hospitalized and hence further exposed to COVID-19. [ADI]

Due to cognitive impairment, people living with dementia have a greater risk for COVID-19 exposure.  Memory problems make instructions problematic to remember. For example, it can be difficult to understand instructions about social distancing (staying 2 meters from others), or hand hygiene, restrictions on walking outside, or reasons for wearing a mask. Eventual lack of insight can result in behaviour that increases risk of exposure for themselves and for their families and carers. It is most important that society does not place any blame, stigma or guilt on people with dementia because of these risks, since it is a consequence of the dementia disorder. Nevertheless, awareness of these risks is important for the protection of people with dementia and those around them. [ADI]

Across our communities we are appealing to caregivers of persons living with dementia to be alert and to exercise due care in following instructions from the Government and Medical Professionals on how to take care of themselves and their loved ones living with dementia. Persons living with Dementia are vulnerable and we have to be careful in caring for them. So at this time coming on to Easter we wish for everyone Peace and Safety during this time of COVID-19 as we deal with caring for ourselves and loved ones living with Dementia. Have a Holy Easter.