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Dementia Action Week: how can I care for someone during lockdown?

This week (11th – 17th March) is Dementia Action week 2020, which encourages people to take action to defeat dementia. Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, it can be especially difficult to care for someone with dementia. Lodders’ care and capacity law specialist, Sofia Tayton, offers some tips for coping during these challenging times.

Shopping and collecting medication

Shopping and collecting medication can be difficult during lockdown. Most supermarkets offer special slots if you are vulnerable or a carer, in order to get necessities delivered to your house. Alternatively, you could ask a neighbour whether they could help by picking up essentials and any medication on your behalf.

In some areas, there are local Covid-19 mutual support groups. Local volunteers will shop for you or collect prescriptions if you can’t get them sent by post. You can find out here where your local group is.

Another option is to consider meals on wheels. There are a number of established companies delivering ready-made meals (for example, Wiltshire Farm Foods, Oakhouse Foods, Parsley Box, and many more that operate locally rather than nationally).

Keeping active

Keeping active when caring for someone is really important. You must maintain your health and wellbeing. Taking a stroll around the garden or any outside space is sometimes enough to ‘reset’ your mind. There are also online exercise classes available, some designed specifically for people with limited mobility, which can help if you are unable to go out for a walk.

Staying occupied

If light exercise such as walking is difficult, it’s important to keep busy and occupied in other ways. Dementia usually affects short-term memory loss most severely, but talking about older memories can help conversation and be comforting for you and the person with dementia. To stimulate memories you could:

  • Look at old photographs and postcards
  • Listen to music

Review legal documents like LPAs

Now is a good time to take the opportunity to review your legal documents, such as wills and lasting powers of attorney (LPAs).

People often assume that if a loved one loses the mental capacity to make their own decisions, through illnesses like dementia, their family and carers will automatically be able to make decisions on their behalf. Unfortunately, without a lasting power of attorney, this is not the case.

There are two types of LPA. One for finances, which covers assets like bank accounts, investments, and pensions. The other LPA is for health and welfare, giving attorneys the power to make decisions about care and medical interventions. This includes where someone lives, and even whether or not to consent to life-sustaining treatment on their behalf.

Although preparing LPAs in lockdown may seem complicated, we have processes in place to help.

Here at Lodders, we can take instruction via video call or telephone. We can send out detailed guidance about the signing process, and witnesses can watch through a window or from a safe distance out of doors. Much of the rest of the process can be completed by post.

Anxieties

Feeling isolated and anxious is normal during this difficult and unprecedented time. There are support lines and online communities available for carers to reach out to for company and advice, such as Dementia UKAlzheimer’s Society, and organisations like The Silver Line.

More information

You can find out more about how to get involved in Dementia Action Week 2020, on the BRACE website. BRACE is the West Country’s regional charity fighting dementia through research. You can also read more about the Alzheimer’s Society Mental Health Week here (currently postponed).

For more information on how Lodders can help you set up an LPA or update a will, please contact Sofia Tayton on 01789 206151, or via email.

Click here to access our growing bank of resources and advice pieces to help you, your business, and your family through the difficult weeks and months as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

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For more information on how Lodders can help you set up an LPA or update a will, please contact Sofia Tayton on 01789 206151, or via email.