This week would have been Dementia Action Week 2020 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Alzheimer's Society and other leading charities have taken the difficult decision to postpone it. Jon Cruddas MP has been a long-time supporter of dementia awareness campaigns and this year, with the recent controversy surrounding care homes Jon believed that the week should not go unmarked.
Below is an article written by Janis Cottee, one of Jon's star volunteers and an ambassador for dementia charity Tide (Together in Dementia Everyday). You can find out more about Tide and read Janis's personal story here: https://tide.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Janis-Cottees-Story.pdf
"Some of the hardest hit in our society at present are those living with Dementia. We are daily hearing of Care Homes without sufficient PPE, of residents not having any contact with their loved ones, staff numbers dropping due to the virus, and in some cases, people in Care Homes are dying alone.
Lots of good Care Homes have moved their staff into the Home, to protect their residents. They are providing Skype calls, Zoom meetings with families, and activities where safe to do so. In most good Care Homes they also have been allowing residents immediate relatives to visit safely, if they are having end of life care, but even in these homes they have found huge difficulties in sourcing PPE.
The death toll in Care Homes is very frightening. The management, staff and residents of some Care Homes have felt abandoned.
Dementia Awareness Week has been postponed until the Autumn this year but I thought it might be helpful for people living with Dementia and their carers at home, to give some idea of help available to them.
At a time when most of us are isolating, it's vital that those who are living with Dementia don't feel cut off from society. Dementia can be isolating anyway, and in the present crisis, it is harder for the person living with dementia and their carers to be able to stay connected to the outside world. Zoom is great for a group chat with friends. Skype, FaceTime, and Whatsapp are good for individual calls.
For those at home there are several groups who are providing help and activities online for both the person living with Dementia and their carers. Here are some of them.
Alzheimer's Society Dementia Support Line 0333 150 3456
Admiral Nurse Helpline 0800 888 6678 9am-9pm weekdays 9am to 5pm Sat/Sun
Tide who can be contacted via tide.uk.net and have a fantastic amount of information on their website. Check out their Covid 19 hub here: https://www.tide.uk.net/activities/ - they have a Zoom wellbeing session and a Coffee and Connect session for carers.
Innovations in Dementia are working to support people with dementia to keep control of their lives and be happy, promoting a positive view of dementia. Contact them at innovationsindementia.org.uk.
Stay safe everyone until we can all be with our families and friends again!"