Dementia and Covid - the unknown figures 

Torbay Weekly

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine I hadn’t seen for years.

I knew they had lost a loved one because of dementia during the lockdowns of Covid but it was only really brought home to me by their vivid explanation of how bad it was.

Sadly, the wonderful carers out there can only do so much and as hard as it is sometimes, they have to put their loved ones into care for their own health and wellbeing as well as those with the illness, as this was the case.

But when you place your loved in care you would never expect a pandemic to come along and stop you from seeing them.

It was explained to me the horror of only being able to see your loved one, only through a window and watch them slowly disappear into the grip of dementia, and mostly because of lack of communication, contact with loved ones and interaction.

Listening to this got me thinking about how many more with dementia had suffered the same fate during the lockdowns.

Interaction and communication is so important in all our lives and without it loneliness sets in, which, if I had my way, loneliness would be recognised as a medical condition.

The figures we hear about are always about Covid but what about those who have been placed into homes and have lost the personal care of a loved one which is bad enough, but also all forms or communication?

I have no words, it’s so incredibly sad, and sadly I have no answers apart from suggesting using today’s technology where possible, where you can talk and video via smartphones, lap tops and, of course, to keep their spirits up by using Purple Angel MP3s with their very own all-time favourite music uploaded to them which are absolutely free for all with dementia.

Recently, as you know, I wrote about community groups in Torbay coming together, and working together to improve the lives of others.

I am so happy to report I have had some wonderful feedback about this.

As well as feedback, we visited the only other memory café in our area In Paignton - besides ours at Barton Church every Saturday 1.30pm to 3pm except the first Saturday in the month - which is held at Christchurch Hall, Torquay Road, Paignton, every Thursday between 2pm and 4pm.

I will not go into why this hadn’t happened pre-Covid but rest assured all is well now and we have pledged to work together in the future, as it should have been years ago, and more people of Torbay will be helped.

As we walked into Paignton memory café we were welcomed with warmth and open arms, and the ironic thing about it was we actually knew 40 per cent of those who were there so it was like greeting old friends and we had such a good time - I would highly recommend it.

There used to be a plethora of memory cafes in Torbay and it's so extremely sad to see there are only two of us left now.

But that’s all the more reason to come together, work alongside each other and, more importantly, work with all the other groups to improve the wellbeing of all in our area.