Be aware of older people’s mental wellbeing as lockdown eases

We are urging the people of Wales to continue checking in on their elderly loved ones and particularly those with dementia as lockdown restrictions ease.

Mental health

A recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Society of around 2,000 people with dementia found that 45% of respondents said lockdown had a negative impact on their mental health.

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the elderly, and particularly those with dementia, extremely hard. The social isolation and loss of routine can have a huge impact on the person with the condition, leading to confusion, loneliness and as research has found, declining mental health.

Although restrictions are slowly lifting and people are getting back to their pre-lockdown routines and back to work, they might forget that the elderly and those with conditions such as dementia, still cannot get back to ‘normal’. Many are shielding, so are still staying safely at home and due to social distancing, social gatherings, lunch clubs and classes are not able to run.

The survey revealed that a third of people living with dementia reported apathy or a sense of ‘giving up’.

Around 46% of unpaid carers also reported that loved ones with the condition have experienced stress, anxiety or depression.

More than a third of people living with dementia who answered the survey now don’t feel confident in going out and getting closer to normality, with the relaxation of some lockdown rules and one in ten say that they have lost friends since lockdown begun.

Up to an estimated 120,000 people live alone with dementia in the UK and this is predicted to double to around 240,000 by 2039.

Half of people affected by dementia say they now have fewer in-depth conversations and three in ten have gone at least four days without having a single conversation with someone.

We appreciate that social distancing measures are still necessary and that people may have gone back to work or are looking after children, but we want to remind people to check in on their elderly family members, friends and even neighbours, from a safe distance, to help brighten their day and boost their mental health.

We want people to remember the older generation at this unprecedented point in our world history. Anything you can do to put a smile on their faces will be a big help during these worrying times. Remember, always to keep two metres away from anyone who is not a member of your own household, wash your hands regularly, wash them well and, also, keep wiping down surfaces.

Our carers ensure our service users see a friendly face daily, but many others don’t have this, so we’re urging people to step-up their contact with the elderly members of their community, but doing it, clearly, at a safe social distance.