Tips from Dementia Friends USA During COVID-19
As the nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic through social distancing and other measures, people with dementia and caregivers are likely to be more isolated and need extra supports from neighbors, family and friends to live at home safely. Becoming a Dementia Friend is a simple and straightforward way for community members to be more aware of dementia and how we each can play a role in helping others through actions, big and small.
Administered by n4a, Dementia Friends USA is part of a global movement that is changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia. A Dementia Friend is someone who, through viewing a series of online Dementia Friend videos, which takes approximately 10-15 minutes, learns about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into simple actions.
Dementia Friends Ohio, administered by the Ohio Council for Cognitive Health, developed the following excellent ideas for actions that Dementia Friends can take during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Call a person with dementia every day just to check in and let them know someone cares.
- Send card or note through the mail once a week. Consider sending a family photo or a silly joke the person would enjoy.
- Video call a care partner and let them know you are there to provide emotional support.
- Ask for a grocery and/or pharmacy list and deliver once a week/as needed.
- Send a small gift such as a simple puzzle, game or book.
- Make a memory book for the person
- Ask grandchildren to draw pictures to send in the mail.
- Volunteer to walk the person's dog.
- Offer to be the care partner's emergency "Plan B" in case of sudden illness or other inability to carry out care partner responsibilities.
- Remind individuals of resources available through their Area Agency on Aging, such as respite care, home-delivered meals, transportation, case management and more.
In addition to becoming a Dementia Friend online at dementiafriendsusa.org, 22 states offer hour-long Dementia Friends sessions (with many turning to interactive online sessions as a result of coronavirus). Become a Dementia Friend today! Check out dementiafriendsusa.org for more information.