Get There Together: Videos to support people affected by dementia in Wales through coronavirus

NHS Wales has produced a series of videos called Get There Together for people living with dementia. These films aim to reduce concerns and reassure anyone who is anxious about getting beyond the front door as well as dealing with the stresses of COVID-19.

About Get There Together

Research has revealed the challenges that COVID-19 continues to present people living with dementia. In response to this, NHS Wales’ Get There Together project has created a series of encouraging videos. The project was supported and supervised through the Bevan Commission Exemplar Scheme.

Even a visit to a library can be fraught with tension because of changes to previously familiar processes.

Dr Natalie Elliott, Project Lead and National Consultant AHP Lead for Dementia at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, says:

'Get There Together is a national project supporting people living with dementia to adjust to changes in their surroundings due to COVID-19 restrictions. We’ve created the films as ‘digital stories’ to reassure anyone who is apprehensive about getting back out into their communities. The films aim to lessen anxiety and reduce isolation as restrictions ease.'

How will they help people affected by dementia?

Alzheimer’s Society reported that nearly half (46%) of people living with dementia state that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, with over 1 in 3 reporting having lost confidence in going out and carrying out daily tasks.

Carer Ceri Higgins is a member of Lleisiau Dementia, an independent group led by people living with dementia and carers, giving a voice to people living with dementia in Wales. She said:

'The Get There Together resources are a much-needed helping hand to guide us with familiarity and clarity of surroundings and environments that are part of our daily lives.

'Many of us have been isolated and impacted by the pandemic, with a loss of routine and connection.'

'Get There Together provides us with insight and increased motivation to re-engage into community life.'

What do the films show?

The films feature shops, libraries, cafes, healthcare services and other community settings. They show examples of signs people might expect to see, one-way systems, social distancing markings, signs and clear screens, which could be confusing when first encountered.

The videos will help individuals familiarise themselves with the new safety measures in place. Each film is around two minutes long and have been especially designed with cheery voiceovers, pictures and text, plus a few friendly faces behind masks, to encourage anyone who may be nervous about going out.

These resources can be used by anyone who wants to familiarise themselves with these changes and new safety measures, not just those living with dementia. 

The videos have been developed in partnership between NHS in Wales, local authorities and a range of businesses and partners.

The films are also available in leaflet format printed in English and Welsh.

Please note: The Get There Together resources were supplied from contributors at various stages of the pandemic. This could mean coronavirus guidelines have since changed. Anyone accessing the resources is advised to check current government guidelines for up-to-date advice where you live.

In addition, Back to Community Life, a venture from Improvement Cymru, provides resources for community leaders to tailor for people in their local area who are struggling since the pandemic to get back to community life.

The resources include customisable templates and information about adjustments for local businesses including safe resting places, such as seating, and priority queuing.

Rebecca Hanmer, Senior Improvement Manager at Improvement Cymru, said,

'Back to Community Life was initiated in Mountain Ash by local people and organisations, including police, transport, local authority, voluntary sector, health and social care, shops and businesses, working together to identify who needed help and what was needed.

'This is a holistic example of how the community can come together to provide an integrated approach to support and enable people to get back to community life.'

Contact the team at Get There Together

Any business that would like to get involved by contributing a video showcasing their COVID-19 safety measures is invited to email Dr Natalie Elliott at [email protected]