Ways of coping through the pandemic

There is currently a pandemic of a virus (Coronavirus) that affects peoples’ lungs and airways. Most people with the virus will experience a high temperature and continuous cough. But in some cases people may become short of breath and need to go to hospital.

Because the coronavirus spreads so easily, we must do all we can to avoid this spread as many people are becoming seriously ill. Some people may have the virus and not know about it or have different symptoms and that is why we need to distance ourselves from other people (apart from the people we are living at home with).

At the moment, the law is telling us to stay at home in order to stop us catching or spreading the virus. We are allowed to leave home only to shop for food or medicine, medical care, travel to & from work (only if not able to work from home) and one session of exercise such as a walk.

Also when people come to your home such as delivery staff and postal workers – be mindful of standing at least 6 feet away from them and when accepting parcels or post, dispose of the empty packaging or envelopes immediately then make sure you wash your hands with lathered soap for 20 seconds.

Below are a few tips to help you cope with staying inside for the present moment:

  • Stay in contact with people
  • Put up a list of family, friends, neighbours and carers by your phone

  • If you are able – input their phone numbers into your phone so that you don’t have to rely on dialling the number every time and include your family doctor and pharmacy number

  • If you have a computer, smart phone or computer tablet try using a video call programme such as zoom, skype, facetime

  • Ask family, friends or neighbours to get your food shopping (include tinned foods and others that have a long shelf life).

  • Get in touch with your pharmacy to arrange a supply of your medications for a period of time

  • If you are concerned about your health ring your doctor or in the event of an emergency do not hesitate to contact 111 or 999, explain that you have dementia, so they will understand how to help you.


Looking after yourself

  • Make sure you have enough food in the house (include frozen and tinned foods)

  • Think about cooking extra portions of meals that you can freeze for another day

  • Enjoy eating fruit and vegetables to keep you well and make sure you drink water

  • Enjoy warm drinks throughout the day

  • Make sure your heating system is working

  • Ask your pharmacy to help you with organising your medication routine and try and set up a pill reminder such as a timer on your mobile phone

  • Try and stick to a routine – write down a plan for each day that includes what activities you can do to stay occupied, stimulated and exercised. This could include speaking with family, gardening, cooking, stretching exercises and making sure you move your arms and feet while sitting

Keeping yourself stimulated

  • Speak with families, friends and neighbours on the phone or through online video programmes, Age Concern have guidelines on how to do this https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/work-learning/technology-internet/video-calling/

  • Click on the link here for free access to a multitude of interesting sites that including theatre, ballet, poetry, gardening programmes, Reading agency https://www.marchnetwork.org/creative-isolation

  • Look up the Alzheimer’s Society for online activities https://dementiatogether.online/

  • If you do not have a computer or prefer other activities think about going through photographs, listening and dancing to music, if you have a garden, try and get as much fresh air and sunshine as possible (make sure you keep warm; the air temperature this time of year can still be cold, despite the sunshine)

  • Try and avoid watching upsetting news before bed, watch some comedy; laughter is the best medicine

  • Create a scrapbook and memory box of important times in your life, you can use photographs, objects, souvenirs, plants

  • Try doing some household tasks such as:

    • Washing the windows

    • Tidying drawers

    • Cleaning & reorganising food cupboards

    • Watering plants and window boxes

    • Filling up a bird feeder

    • Pottering about in the garden


For more help and support read Chapter Two: Communicating from the Heart in Finding the Light in Dementia, a Guide for Families Friends and Caregivers https://www.findingthelightindementia.com