Coronavirus Action Day is today. We’ve been supporting clients living with dementia throughout three lockdowns. We have maintained all our visits and compensated for closed facilities and lack of family interaction the best we could.
A year into the pandemic, people living with dementia, their loved ones and carers remain hardest hit by Covid-19.
To mark a year since the beginning of the pandemic, we are marking Coronavirus Action Day alongside Alzheimer’s Society, tide, John’s Campaign and Dementia UK
We call on Government to implement long-term social care reform, and to encourage Recovery Plans to help people affected by dementia recover from the effects of pandemic.
We know that people with dementia have suffered terribly from the pandemic. To date, at least 34,000 people with dementia have died from Covid-19 – more than any other group. Alzheimer’s society has an amazing resource of people telling their unique story of how they did during the pandemic. Very sadly it is too late for a lot of people. The damage this year in isolation has caused is irreversible. Cognition and independence has been lost forever. It is a tragedy of the pandemic.
Last week I attended a meeting of providers organised by Age UK and John’s Campaign to share our own unique perspective of balancing government guidelines, keeping people safe and attending to the specialist needs of people living with dementia and those in the last years of their lives. The steering group heard of the trauma the rules caused people and is taking steps to learn and adapt.
We know that it is not just a high death rate that is affecting people with dementia. People living with dementia have been rapidly declining due to the isolation.
I was glad to hear that meaningful visits to care homes will be returning soon, but we also need to ensure that people with dementia – wherever they live – are helped to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
People living with dementia in the community and their family and carers have faced great suffering.
As a result of little support during the pandemic, it is estimated that between March and June of 2020, family and friends spent an extra 92 million hours caring for loved ones with dementia. This has taken a significant toll on their own health and wellbeing.
Most families could not get to their loved ones either because of distance and not being able to travel or because of the risks of visiting. They paid for carers to provide local support. In some cases even paid for support was patchy and unreliable but Seniors Helping Seniors was fortunate.
Our outstanding infection control and unique dedicated carers enabled us to provide all the care that was required of us.
We kept up familiar routines as far as we could. We kept people active to stave of the boredom and we repeated and reinforced the messages to stay indoors and keep safe. We feel our explanations were key to keeping people safe and to dealing with the heartache of family not being able to visit and interpreting the negative news coming into peoples’ homes constantly.
We believe those living with dementia required special provision during the lockdowns. We were able to provide a lot of help. Our regular carers became friend, confident, and cheerleader. We were able to keep people safe and in good spirits and we were able to keep family informed and connected with their loved ones from afar.
Urgent action is now needed by our government to ensure that, never again, will those affected by dementia face such devastation. They were left to fend for themselves.
If you would like to make sure your MP is standing up for people living with dementia you can access this link
Every day is precious.