Lockdown measures in the UK have affected many people's lives. But some people needed to adapt their lives more than others. Pearl is 86 and living with dementia. Her daughter, Enomwoyi, shares how the pandemic has greatly impacted their family.
Enomwoyi lives with her mother, Pearl, who has Alzheimer's disease. Also in the family home is Enomwoyi's husband, children, and grandchild.
Before coronavirus first reached the UK, carers would come three times a day to help with Pearl’s care.
These visits stopped suddenly when lockdown measures were announced in March. This left Enomwoyi and the rest of the family to carry out all of Pearl’s daily care.
Enomwoyi said, 'I was so worried about Mom at the beginning of all this. She’s 86 and has Alzheimer's along with some other underlying health conditions.
'We had several phone calls from different agencies saying they would not be able to come to the house, and then we were left to get on with it.'
On top of this, Enomwoyi came down with coronavirus-like symptoms.
This meant that Enomwoyi had to isolate from Pearl for three weeks. This was difficult for the whole family because they suddenly had to take on more intense caring responsibilities with very little preparation.
'I don’t know how it would have worked without my supportive family.'
When Enomwoyi began to feel better, she was keen to care for Pearl herself as much as possible. But because of coronavirus, Enomwoyi's return to work was remotely from home. This meant Enomwoyi had to combine work with the increased caring responsibilities for Pearl while there were no home care visits.
In the mornings, Enomwoyi's work meetings would often clash with getting Pearl up and ready for the day. Despite her employers being incredibly considerate, this had an understandably stressful impact on her.
Noticing changes in Pearl
Pearl has not left the house since mid-March, and Enomwoyi has noticed her mother's Alzheimer's disease symptoms worsen in recent months.
'I think in the most part it’s down to the natural progression of Alzheimer’s that is to be expected with the disease, but the isolation of lockdown could very easily have also had an impact.
'Before lockdown, we would have gone out for a coffee once a week to have a chat, and to the day centre to see other people, but this has all now stopped.
'She no longer seems as interested in things she used to love, things like getting her nails done, which is sad to see.'
Luckily, Pearl’s carer has now been able to return to their home. They come into the house twice daily to help with Pearl’s care needs. This has taken a huge pressure off Enomwoyi and her family.
The family feels very blessed to have the support from home care. But they know there are many others that might not have their support back.
Better plans are needed
Enomwoyi reflects on lots of things that are still on pause, and how there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan about when these services will return.
'Just before coronavirus, I wanted Mom to have a review by the Occupational Therapist and Physio, but, at present, these can’t happen.
'I needed a new Blue Badge assessment too. When Mom can go out again, she will need her wheelchair and easier accessibility to the places I would like to take her to. But I don’t know when these things will happen now.'
'I would love to see dementia care being talked about more by the Government.'
'There seems to be a plan in place for everything to open, from pubs to shops, but I haven’t heard much on how our elderly will be cared for in the future.
'It makes it impossible to plan for anything. We need good care for the elderly in our community, and this seems to have been forgotten again.'
Support our campaign
Alzheimer's Society is working to make sure the Government puts a plan in place to get people affected by dementia the support they need during the pandemic. By joining our campaign, you can hear more about how to get involved.