Advice for supporting a relative with dementia who is isolated at home due to coronavirus.
‘My brother is 82, has Alzheimer’s and lives alone. He hasn’t left his house for weeks because of coronavirus and I’m worried about him.’
Many people living with dementia have had to isolate themselves at this time from family, friends and others who support and care for them. This can leave people feeling unsettled and confused.
Coronavirus has also disrupted daily and weekly routines, which could otherwise help a person to feel safe and secure when so much else is disorientating.
It’s a difficult situation for you and your brother, but – apart from looking forward to things returning to normality – there are things that could make a difference.
Use whatever methods you’re both comfortable with to stay in touch, whether by phone, email, text or one of the many video calling apps, such as Zoom or Skype.
Seeing your face while hearing your voice could help your brother feel less isolated.
Arranging calls at regular times may also add structure to his day. Are there other people he’d appreciate this kind of contact with?
Many people find our online community, Talking Point, a valuable way to connect with others who are affected by dementia. This may help you as well as your brother.
If your brother normally goes to groups or events, are there ways to keep these going online or over the phone?
Home deliveries of food and other supplies can be arranged on your brother’s behalf, online or by phone. The GP or local pharmacist can help make sure your brother doesn’t run out of regular medications, including having them sent by post.
To pay for deliveries, you could ask your brother about getting a ‘third party mandate’ to give you temporary access to his bank account. You’d need to speak to his bank, and your brother would need to complete a form and consent to this.
Keeping active and doing things he enjoys doing may help your brother to retain his skills and independence for longer. What does he like doing? Are there activities you could suggest to him?
Doing specific things at set times, even household chores, can also provide helpful routine and structure.
If your brother usually has face-to-face support from Alzheimer’s Society, we’ll phone him to check how he’s doing and offer advice. This will be done by a trained staff member or volunteer, perhaps someone he’s met.
We need your help
We can’t keep our phone lines open or manage the increase in demand for our services without urgent financial support. Please donate today – with your help, we can show people living with dementia that they aren’t alone.