If you are a dementia patient or carer currently living by yourself, you are not alone, and you can still make the best of the situation by accessing support and staying connected.
The coronavirus lockdown has forced us into our homes, but that does not mean that we have to feel isolated.
- Dementia patients encouraged to access support through their networks or National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500
- Immediately contact your doctor if you display any COVID-19 symptoms
- Find indoor activities like reading and listening to music, and go out for a walk to stay healthy
There are around 459,000 Australians living with dementia with 1.6 million people involved in their care. Dementia Australia is providing support to all of them.
“We are all physically isolating, but it does not mean we have to feel socially isolated,” Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said.
Accessing support network
Your support networks may include family, friends, neighbours or professionals who can help with practical things you find difficult, look out for your wellbeing, or just be there to share your thoughts and concerns with.
Put plans in place to connect with others over the phone or via video links. If you have a computer, smart phone or tablet, consider using a video calling program to stay in touch with people.
You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit dementia.org.au for webchat, resources and information in other languages.
What if you can no longer get in touch with your existing support network?
If you don’t have any relatives or friends, or if you are no longer in touch, you can access online communities or forums to connect to other people with dementia.
We are all physically isolating, but it does not mean we have to feel socially isolated.
Dementia Alliance International (DAI) also offers peer-to-peer support groups for people with a diagnosis of a dementia.
These groups meet regularly to discuss their experiences, problems and strategies for coping and living more positively with dementia. They also have opportunities for one to one buddying and mentoring.
It is important to continue to structure your day and include activities that you enjoy or are important to you.
You can break your day up by setting your alarm to change activities every hour or every couple of hours. You may schedule time for a walk, or spend time in the garden, call a friend, listen to music, read or watch your favourite television show or movie.
Be mindful of the symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 such as fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath. If you display any of these symptoms, contact your doctor for advice or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080.
Practice proper hygiene. Make sure you and any visitors wash their hands or use hand sanitiser or anti-bacterial hand wipes may be a quick alternative. When cleaning, pay attention to things that are handled often such as remote controls, door handles, taps and phones.
If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.