Coronavirus has brought new challenges for people living with dementia, such as Keith Oliver, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2010. Find out how Keith and his wife Rosemary have been staying active while self-isolating.
I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 55. I have been self-isolating with my wife Rosemary for over nine weeks now. The coronavirus lockdown has been a very callenging time for us, and it has really surprised me how difficult it’s been.
We try and do a lot of activities together, like gardening, that keep my brain stimulated and physically fit without going for walks. But more than half my care plan is based around doing more activities to help me keep well, some of which have just disappeared.
Keeping up hobbies and routines, and being physically active, is so key to preventing my symptoms from worsening.
I’ve been a public servant for most of my life and I need my daily routine to continue to give me a sense of self-worth.
Keeping active during lockdown
Conversations with my wife, Rosemary are important. I make sure to take time every day to sit and talk to her, have a cup of coffee together, play a game or record something we like to watch and sit down to watch that and have a chat about it.
I like to keep myself moving as much as I can. I’m lucky enough to have a garden and as well as the digging, weeding and watering the plants helps to keep me moving.
I also do exercises indoors as I have some challenges with my balance. I do some simple standing on one leg balance exercises and some sit up type activities that really help me.
I try to do something new every day. I like to keep lists as a way of dealing with the different activities I plan to do.
It helps me to mix up the activities so I don’t always do the easy ones first and the hard ones last.
I like to keep socially connected even if I’m physically distant. We set up a daily video call with our youngest son who was diagnosed with COVID-19 (but is thankfully okay now) to check in. Now he’s okay we still keep that time in to have a chat and I speak to my older children each day too.
I’ve been enjoying some of the Active Minds products like aqua paints and puzzles every now and again too.
Good and bad days
The way I am each day varies a lot now and I never know how the day will turn out. The activities I do can be helpful for me one day but be challenging for me on another day.
Before I used to feel quite different, but I take some strength and feel a better connection knowing everyone is having their own challenges now and it’s not just me.
I have some fears about when and how this might all end. I wonder what the world will be like for me, my friends and my family and for the organisations I care about.
Feeling the reward
I find it really helpful to create and keep a routine. Make sure there are things in every day with a little difficulty to look forward to and feel the reward.
You’ve got to take each day as it comes, and plan one thing a little bit ahead to look forward to.
Click or tap on the arrows below to see how Keith and Rosemary have been coping during coronavirus lockdown:
Support at home during lockdown
Coronavirus and the lockdown can bring extra challenges for carers too. Our advice here may help.