How Do You Talk to Someone Living With Dementia About Coronavirus?

Sunrise  |  June 9, 2020

Jackie Pool, world-renowned dementia specialist and Director of Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living UK, gives us her top tips on speaking to someone living with dementia about Coronavirus:

  • Many families will be faced with the new challenge of helping someone living with dementia through this difficult time.

  • Avoid scaring the person but do explain in simple terms that there is a new illness, and to stop us catching or spreading the virus, the law says that everyone must stay at home.

  • Avoid talking about future arrangements and timescales as the person might not be able to grasp the meaning of those. Stay in the present and explain what is required now.

  • Use ‘we’ rather than ‘you’ so the person feels supported rather than being told: “we’re not allowed to go out” rather than “you’re not allowed to go out”.

  • Lack of insight can result in behaviour that increases risk of exposure to coronavirus but it is most important that the person is not blamed or confronted, since it is a consequence of the dementia.

  • Try to maintain the person’s routine and support the person living with dementia to spend short periods of time doing things they enjoy to reduce feelings of loneliness, boredom and frustration.

  • The person living with dementia may have difficulty in understanding the reason for changes and may pick up on the anxiety of family members. Make sure that you are looking after yourself and managing your own anxiety.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Society web site for lots of helpful advice and information:

Find your nearest Sunrise home here.