Talking to people with dementia about COVID-19

We’re currently living in very uncertain and confusing times following the COVID-19 outbreak.


Life for a person with dementia can be very confusing despite the outbreak. You may be wondering how you go about explaining the crisis to someone with the condition.

It’s important to take a person-centred approach to discussing the topic. Ask yourself if they need to know and if so, how much detail they need.

If it’s going to affect the person’s daily routine, then it might be a good idea to explain it to them.

People in early stages of the condition usually still have good verbal skills and will understand.

If a person can sense that things aren’t right or their routine is disturbed because of it, this can cause anxiety and frustration.

You could tell them there is a flu outbreak and that people are advised to stay home. Be reassuring.

It’s important to stay calm and keep your tone and body language as natural as possible. People with the condition can pick up on another person’s anxiety or worry.

You should use simple and short sentences that you can repeat on a frequent basis.

If you need further help, the Alzheimer’s Society has lots of information for people affected by dementia and for those supporting someone with the condition, here.