For Dementia Action Week 2020, Brunelcare’s dementia lead, Stuart Wright, gives his advice on living with Dementia, or caring for a loved one with Dementia, during lockdown.
1. Focus on what you can do
During this time it’s easy to feel bombarded by information telling us what we can’t do, but there is still plenty we can do to maintain our independence and keep us busy.
Stuart says: “Although it can be challenging, maintaining a positive state of mind at this time is important. Watching the news or using social media too frequently can contribute to feeling anxious, so try to do this in moderation and focus your energy on the things that are in your control. Try not to speculate about what the future holds and instead take time to share positive moments with your support network.”
2. Go outside if you can
If you are able to go outside for a walk or gentle exercise, do so. Getting out and about in nature has a calming effect and is really good for our wellbeing. If it helps, pick a time of the day, or an area nearby that is quieter.
If you aren’t able to go out, but you have a garden, this can also be a great place to do gentle stretches or relax. Gardening can be therapeutic, plus it can be a lovely pastime to enjoy together.
If you don’t have a garden and you are unable to get outside, you could try planting a windowsill garden so you can enjoy nature from inside.
3. Get creative inside
If getting out is difficult, or you are shielding, do remember it’s ok to stay indoors and there’s still plenty you can do with your loved one.
- Looking through old pictures and creating a photo album is a really great way to reconnect with the past and share stories together.
- Gentle hand massages with scented oils and creams can stimulate the senses and have a calming effect.
- The BBC’s reminiscence archive is a wonderful resource for people living with Dementia.
- Designed to trigger memories, simply select a theme or a decade of interest, the archive will then show images, videos or play audio around the subject.
- Singing for the Brain is now online, which means people who regularly take part don’t have to miss out and for people who are yet to try it, now could be just the time!
4. Keep a routine
Where possible, keep your usual routine. This can include maintaining daily chores, such as cooking and cleaning, or going out to exercise.
Creating a calendar or a to-do list can be really helpful to track which activities you have on that day and will help you both maintain independence.
5. Maintain independence
It is important to balance the needs of the person living with dementia and the carer, so you can both retain your independence as much as possible. Making use of technology can often help with this, as a tablet or device keeps hands occupied and provides entertainment while you take time out for yourself.
Stuart says: “Even if it’s just a quiet cup of tea in the garden, a short walk or a bath - having time out as a carer is really important so you don’t burn out. Find what works for you and your loved one and set time aside so you can both be independent.”
6. Helpful resources
If you need additional support at this time, here are some useful contacts:
- Dementia UK helpline: 0800 888 6678
- Alzheimers Society advice line: 0333 1503 456
- Dementia Navigators, signposting to local services: 0117 904 5151
- Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Services: http://www.bristoldementiawellbeing.org/
After nearly two decades as a community carer, Gordon Price is enjoying retirement with his wife - who he met at Brunelcare.
Reading time: 3 minutes
Glastonbury Care Home has been fortunate enough to have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus on site since the start of the pandemic.
Reading time: 2 minutes
After over 25 years of working as a chef, David Lewis changed careers to join Brunelcare as a community carer.
Reading time: 2 minutes