Dementia Friendly Communities

This communication has been updated to include a new Alzheimer's Society Dementia Connect Support Line number

Actions you could take to help your local community

We hope you’ve had a chance to read our email guidance about Covid-19 coronavirus yesterday. We’ve been hearing from so many of you that your local area is full of people wanting to help and so we’ve put together some ideas for actions you can take or influence others to take.

Your Dementia Friendly Communities Officer will be checking in regularly and keeping you up to date as the situation develops through virtual network meetings, emails and phone calls.  We’ll also be organising webinars to share information and provide guidance on topics, like using Zoom for example.

Please do feed back. We really want to hear about the amazing work you are doing to support people living and affected by dementia so we can share best practice and challenges across the country.

We really want to thank you for all the amazing work that you are doing and emphasise that we don’t want you to risk your own health in helping others. Please ensure you are following the most up to date Government guidance.

How could this impact people affected by dementia

We know that people living with dementia will all react in a unique way to the coronavirus situation, however other people in your communities may not have the same level of knowledge about dementia so some key things you could tell them are:

  • Someone living with dementia may not be aware of, or may forget about the coronavirus outbreak, so may not always follow the social distancing recommendations
  • Many of our normal routines will change which may be particularly disruptive or upsetting for a person living with dementia as well as their families and carer(s)
  • Being isolated may be very difficult for people with dementia and for families caring for a person without access to support or respite. There are ways to help people to as live as well as they can by keeping connected and as active as possible

Important considerations on collecting personal information

We understand the rapid nature of the situation however during this time we want to emphasise the importance of data protection. Below is a summary of key messages about keeping vulnerable people’s data as safe as possible. Could you please ensure your DFC group is following the guidance and share where necessary with other community groups you engage with.  We will also be sharing more detailed guidance on this shortly.

  • Ensure personal information is only collected where it is necessary to do so
  • Make sure the person who the information is about is aware of what information is being captured and how it will be used
  • Do not use it for different purposes to what you said you would use it for
  • Make sure you keep it safe and secure so only those who need to see the information can do so
  • When support is no longer required, the information must be disposed of
  • If engaging with groups that have a delivery scheme, where possible, have an agreed DBS checked volunteer and password system

Simple actions you can inspire individuals in your community to take

  • Get in touch with established groups who are already working to help the community to see how you could get involved. Start with your local Councillor
  • These established groups may benefit from understanding more about dementia. You could promote and encourage people to become Dementia Friends by watching the online video
  • You can remind people in your community to keep in touch with those affected by dementia and their carers using video calling tools like Skype, Face Time and Zoom, and don’t forget the art of a good letter or postcard. Simply picking up the phone and making sure people are okay is extremely powerful at this time
  • If people need support and information encourage them to contact Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line – 0333 150 3456
  • Keeping busy is important. Alzheimer’s Society bases all of our work on the experiences of people affected by dementia. You could promote Dementia Voice, which is an opportunity to get involved with us by having interesting conversations, share experiences and help influence change

Simple actions businesses can take

Your DFC influences organisations and businesses to support people affected by dementia by taking action. We have identified supermarkets and pharmacies to be two areas of main concern for people affected by dementia that DFCs could help to influence. Below are some asks you could make of your local businesses.

Supermarkets

  • Keep bathroom facilities available for people who may need them 
  • Ask supermarkets/shops if they could have a designated morning exclusively for older/at risk individuals and carers
  • Ask supermarkets if they could package things like soap, toilet roll, incontinence products and other basic items and prioritise them for older/at risk individuals and carers
  • If you need any more information about how someone with dementia might need support visit Dementia Friends or Alzheimer's Society

Pharmacies

  • Proactively phone/text local customers to advise them of delivery services if they are in at-risk categories
  • Consider whether medication could be provided in daily pill dispensers as standard for anyone in an at-risk category
  • Sending regular reminders to known customers to not attend to collect medication if they are displaying any symptoms
  • If you need any more information about how someone with dementia might need support visit Dementia Friends or Alzheimer's Society

Again, your safety and welfare is the utmost importance so please do not risk your own health in helping others and ensure you are following the most up to date government guidance.

We’re continuing to look at ways that as a collective group we can provide support to the community. So keep in touch, tell us what you need, and we’ll be here to help you support people affected by dementia in your community.

Best wishes, 

Dementia Friendly Communities Team