A carer smiling with a person with dementia

5 tips for carers to look after your mental health during coronavirus 

There are many carers living with a person with dementia who are having a difficult time during the coronavirus pandemic. To help you, Alzheimer’s Society has put together five tips to benefit your wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdown.

It is such a difficult time for so many carers living with a person with dementia right now.

You’re adapting to weeks of lockdown, no access to any face-to-face services and very few chances to get out or meet anyone. You may be feeling worried, stressed or frustrated.  

As a carer, it is very important to look after your mental health and wellbeing. Especially during difficult times like these. Not only for your own benefit, but also for the person you are supporting. 

Here are our five tips for carers to look after your wellbeing

1. Keep connected

  • Family and friends can be a great source of support. Whether it’s to talk about your emotions or just chat, staying in touch with your loved ones is good for your wellbeing. During the coronavirus lockdown, there are lots of ways to stay in touch - by phone, video chat, email or post. 
  • Remember that you are not alone. There are many people in similar situations that you can talk to - to let off steam, share frustrations or look for advice. Connect with others by joining Alzheimer’s Society’s online community Talking Point

 2.  Make time for yourself

  • Take regular breaks if you can. Having time apart can be good for both you and the person you care for. This can be difficult if you are caring for someone during the coronavirus lockdown. But even short breaks doing something that you enjoy can make a lot of difference. 
  • Remember that you can only do so much and be kind to yourself. Focus on what you can do and try to accept that you may need help sometimes. If you need support, call our Dementia Connect support line.
  • Try not to compare yourself to others in similar situations. You may think they are coping better than you. But everyone’s situation is different and everyone faces their own challenges. You are doing the best you can. Speak with other carers on our online community

3. Keep a daily routine 

  • Find a new routine that works for you and the person you care for. Coronavirus is likely to disrupt your usual daily routine. A new routine can give you both a sense of purpose, pass the time and help you manage difficult feelings, like worry and frustration. 
  • Try writing a weekly plan. Where possible, include activities that will help with your wellbeing. For example, exercise, reading a book or gardening.  

4. Stay active and healthy 

  • Try finding activities you enjoy that help you get moving. Exercise is good for all our wellbeing and mental health – even when it’s a small amount. You could try dancing, gardening, exercise videos or home-versions of sports. You can add your activities to your daily routine. Do them with the person you support, if appropriate.
  • It’s also important to try to eat well. Try to have a balanced diet. Try not to let stress or boredom lead to over-indulging on treats or alcohol. If you enjoy cooking, why not try out some new healthy recipes?

5. Limit how much news you read, watch or listen to

  • Try to limit how much time you spend reading, watching or listening to news about the coronavirus. While it’s good to stay up to date, too much of this can feel overwhelming. 
  • Try setting a specific time for the news each day. Limit how long this is for. And try not to do this too close to when you go to sleep at night. 
  • Use trustworthy sources for news – like the GOV.UK and NHS websites. 

You are not alone

We are here to support you and your loved ones during coronavirus outbreak. If you or someone you care for needs dementia support, call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456 (open every day). Or if you speak Welsh, call 03300 497 400

Dementia Connect support line
Our dementia advisers are here for you.

More advice and information for carers

From Alzheimer's Society

General advice and information for mental health

Categories

8 comments

Add a comment

My husband of 40 years has just been diagnosed.Things are ok at the moment ,(more or less) ,but I know it will deteriorate.We live in Germany ,my husband is German.I'm for Huddersfield.I'm terrified of the future.My family and friends are in uk.Any advice welcome.

This is helpful
4

Hello Dinah,
We are very sorry to learn about your husband's recent diagnosis. This must be such a troubling time for you both. But please know that you are not alone, and there are people you can talk to who can support you.
Our online community, Talking Point, is a place for people affected by dementia to share their experiences. It's free to use and open day and night: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/dementia-talking-point-our-on…
There is also our Dementia Connect support line where you can get information and support from our dementia advisers: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/dementia-connect-support-line But if you're looking for phone support within Germany, there does seem to be a telephone line you can call: https://www.deutsche-alzheimer.de/unser-service/alzheimer-telefon.html
In the meantime, we recommend getting a copy of The dementia guide. It is written for people who have recently been told they have dementia, but it also provides helpful information for anyone taking on a caring role: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/publications-about-dementia/the-dementia-…
We hope this is helpful for now, Dinah.
-
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
5

We had just started attending a group called Memory Tree based in the Bradford area, when lock down came along. It is for carers and cared for, discussions for the former an supervised activity for the latter
What a marvellous group. In lock down members phone, write, and bring a weekly box of memory and nostalgia items and books. They deserve a lot of praise.and support, so I hope this is seen as a "thank you" message.

This is helpful
5

My friend has dementia/ Alztheimers. Obviously I have not seen her since March when lockdown began. I talk to her on the telephone a couple of times a week. I am really fretful about this as her husband will not let her out at all. He is obviously concerned about her as she suffers with diabetes and keeps her protected at all times. My worry is that she is not getting any stimulation of her brain or any exercise. She has been to the doctor to have her bloods tested and her husband has told her Dr that she has been having night episodes of sleep walking and searching for things while asleep, then when she wakes she doesn't know him or where she is for a time. The Dr is trying to get an appointment with a neurologist, but when that will happen we don't know as yet. I know I'm not family but I care about my friend very much. We have been together for at least 35 years. I am so anxious for her and the situation.

This is helpful
5

Hello Carol,
It sounds like you're going through a really stressful time.
There are people you can talk to help relieve the stress and anxiety about your friend's wellbeing. For dementia information, advice and support, you can call our Dementia Connect support line and speak with a dementia adviser on 0333 150 3456 - you can find more details and opening hours here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/dementia-connect-support-line
Additionally, if you'd like to talk to other people either living with or affected by dementia, our online community Talking Point is available 24/7: https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/
We hope this helps, Carol.
Wishing you all the best.
-
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
1

Yes very helpful.

This is helpful
4

Hi, my mother has Alzheimer’s and is in a care home for nearly 5 yrs now. My sister and I have power of attorney and have just noticed that my mum’s savings are very low, she has only 24,000£ left, so my sister rang the council to see what happens when they get down to 20,000 which is the limit that they cannot take. They replied that they will continue taking the money and then when there’s nothing left we will eventually be reimbursed. My question is : is this normal? And are we allowed to block the money in the bank before they take it?
Thank you for your reply.
Gillian

This is helpful
8

Hi there Gillian,
Thanks for getting in touch, and for providing some information regarding the situation.
We are going to assume your mum solely has the savings you mention and no additional property or assets to consider.
In England, the upper threshold for savings is £23,250. When savings drops below this amount, the Local Authority (LA) should start to contribute to the fees alongside the person’s income.
When the savings drop to the lower threshold of £14,250, the person can retain these savings and they are disregarded in the financial assessment. No further savings are expected to be used to fund care fees.
The LA should then make up the difference between the person’s income and the amount charged by the care home.
Ideally, people should contact the LA to request a financial assessment well in advance of them reaching the upper threshold, although we know this isn’t always possible. This is because the LA can take some time to assess, which means in the meantime the resident's own savings are being used for care fees.
As long as an assessment has been requested prior to the savings dropping below the threshold, the LA should reimburse the additional savings used due to their delay and this is fairly common. It is not usually the case that the LA will not to assess until all the savings are depleted, as suggested here.
You may wish to put your concerns in writing (letter or email) and ask for the LA's policy on this. If possible, liaise with the finance team directly. Due to coronavirus, some LAs have suspended assessment duties under the Care Act. This means they are not carrying out financial assessments until after the emergency period, after which they will carry out a retrospective assessment. That may be the case here. We cannot advise blocking the payment, as this could lead to a threat of eviction.
We hope this is helpful.
-
Alzheimer's Society Knowledge team

This is helpful
11
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.