Advice for people with dementia struggling to follow rules and signs in public places

People’s expectations and rules about social distancing vary between places and change over time. Read advice from members of our online community.

We asked members of Talking Point for their tips about supporting a person with dementia who’s struggling to follow different rules and signs while they’re out and about.

Talking Point is a helpful community that’s free and open 24/7, where anyone who’s affected by dementia can get valuable support online.

Unsure2021 says,

‘My other half can’t make the decision whether to wear a mask or not for himself, he waits until we are at the shop and can see what everyone else is doing. If I put my mask on before we get there, he will copy me.’ 

Shazza61 says,

‘My dad has vascular dementia and struggles to remember to keep his mask on and what it’s for. He doesn’t understand the pandemic.

‘We have to keep reminding him and, if he talks, he pulls it down as he thinks we can’t understand him if it’s over his mouth/ nose.

‘As a family we have all decided to keep wearing masks.’ 

DazeyDoris says, 

‘There’s an added complication in that my husband sees on TV that you don’t have to wear masks in shops, but we’re in Wales where they’re still mandatory. 

‘Also, our son who’s living with us at the moment had COVID and my husband kept mentioning our son’s sore throat even though we kept saying it’s coronavirus.

‘When we were doing our PCR tests (negative, thank goodness) he just didn’t understand even though he has Sky News on all day.’ 

Talking Point
Visit our online community to get advice, share experiences, connect.

Kaths says,

‘My mum wears a sunflower lanyard that we were given in M&S last year. I would recommend it as we’ve seldom been challenged about anything, most people respect what it stands for.’ 

jennifer1967 says,

‘I agree that the sunflower lanyard solved a lot of problems and stopped people judging and giving him a hard time about not being able to wear masks.’

What advice would you give someone who fears they’re one of the ‘invisibles’ – not around enough to help support a family member with dementia?

Let us know by the end of 4 November 2021 so we can share it in our next magazine.

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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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