COVID-19 has increased the risk of loneliness, boredom, and depression for people living with dementia.

Dementia environment

The COVID-19 crisis has affected the healthcare industry immensely and will permanently reshape how we care for patients and residents.

Research has shown that with the restriction on visitors and the use of face coverings due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, maintaining the morale of residents and patients with dementia, has become particularly challenging for health and social care professionals.

The lack of interaction has not only increased the risk of loneliness, boredom, and depression, but has also led to behaviour which is difficult to manage.

However, as we handle the fallout from this crisis which is both amplifying familiar risks and creating new ones, change at this scale can also create new opportunities for managing these challenges, and ways to build back better.

As we are all aware dementia is typically accompanied by difficulties with language and communication and the importance of interaction with carers, relatives and close friends is essential in maintaining their psychological and emotional wellbeing.

However, with lockdown and distancing restrictions, the important role these people play in helping residents/patients to communicate their needs, concerns and preferences have become a lot harder.

For this reason, creating an engaging environment, keeping the person active and continuing with activities the person with dementia has enjoyed or finding new ones, is essential to reduce behaviours that are out of character.

Things that can help include:

  • Creating an engaging environment – for example, creating a space where the resident/ patient can have some freedom will help with independence and bring back some sort of normality.
  • Providing reassurance to help the person find the answer themselves – for example, if they keep asking the time, ensure you have easy-to-read clocks visible throughout the home/ward.
  • Provide activities that give pleasure and confidence – for example, puzzles or activities that can be taken to people who are less mobile, or bed-bound.
  • Encourage someone to talk about something they like talking about – for example, create Memory Boxes about a period or an event they enjoyed and use this to help with conversations.
  • Help with restlessness and fidgeting – for example, give them something to occupy their hands, such as a Fiddle Muff or rummage box.

As we all come to terms with the challenges COVID-19 has brought, it is also time to look ahead at how we can create a supportive environment for those living with dementia, an environment that aids patient focus care and creates an easier working environment.

Find Memory Care specialists in dementia products and environments, can help you create a dementia friendly environment. Contact Karen to find out how we can help you move forward.