Coronavirus

Living with dementia at any time brings everyday challenges for the person and those around them. Coronavirus is making daily life much harder. You may feel anxious, scared or lonely. But you are not alone – help is available. 

During the coronavirus pandemic we have advice and practical tips for people living with dementia and those supporting them – either in the same household or from a distance.

We will update this information regularly, including details of support and services from Alzheimer's Society. This will help you get through this difficult time, so do come back to see what’s available. 

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What is coronavirus? 

Coronavirus causes a new illness (COVID-19) that mainly affects your lungs and airways.

Symptoms in most people will be mild – a high temperature or new continuous cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste. Some people will also have difficulty with breathing (shortness of breath). 

A few people with COVID-19 will get severe symptoms and need medical attention. Older people and those with a long-term health condition (for example, lung disease, heart failure, diabetes) or a weakened immune system (for example, because of HIV or chemotherapy) are more likely to get worse symptoms. These are people who are offered the regular flu jab every year in the autumn.

The higher-risk groups for severe coronavirus illness include almost everyone with dementia, and many older family carers. 

NHS advice on coronavirus

Visit the NHS website for the lastest medical advice to protect yourself and others. 

Latest NHS advice

Advice for everyone 

We must do all we can to fight coronavirus. It’s spread easily between people and not everyone with coronavirus infection has obvious symptoms.

The guidance now says that everyone can leave their home more often. However, we should all still focus on avoiding catching or spreading the virus. This includes limiting close contact with people from outside your household as much as possible.

The rules about this are different in Wales, Northern Ireland and England so check the specific guidance about going out for the area where you live.

For regions without local restrictions, everyone is now allowed to: 

  • leave home to exercise 
  • go out for a medical need – including to provide care, to help a vulnerable person or to escape risk of harm
  • meet up as two households indoors
  • meet in a group outdoors – details vary by country
  • go to places such as shops, hotels, hairdressers, pubs and visitor attractions – where these are opening safely
  • visit places of worship open for safe group services or private prayer
  • travel for work – if you can’t work from home. 

Even when doing these, we’re advised to keep two metres (three steps) away from anyone outside the household wherever we can. This won’t always be possible, especially indoors, where one metre distance with extra precautions such as a face covering is allowed (not in Wales).

Use public transport only if your journey is essential. A face covering should be worn on public transport and in shops (our blog post explains the law on this in different countries), where it’s harder to keep two metres away from people.

These rules apply to everyone, although people who live alone now have the option to join a ‘social bubble’. People with dementia and those living with them should follow the rules particularly closely. They should take extra care to limit contact with others outside their household. Staying at home more and being very careful when out is the easiest way to do this. This is because people with dementia and older people in general are at higher risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus.   

Last updated 31 July

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