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Living with dementia through Covid-19

View profile for Ben Parmenter
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Living with dementia through Covid-19

There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and about 120,000 of those live alone. Life has been difficult for all of us recently. However, living alone with dementia must be even more lonely, particularly if that person has hardly seen another human being or had any physical or emotional interaction with others over the last few months.

Dementia was the most common pre-existing condition in nearly 20,000 care home residents who died from coronavirus between 2 March to 12 June 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics. We all know from the news that the situation in care homes has been particularly difficult and the statistics do not make pleasant reading.

And then I think about the extended family members, friends and carers.

Not only is life extremely difficult and confusing for the person who has dementia, but it is also very difficult and testing for those family members, friends and carers who are living with, and caring for, the person with dementia in this current situation.

It has probably been, and continues to be, one of the most difficult times of their lives.

For carers and family members who live in the same household as someone with dementia, they would have been even more restricted than the rest of us, due to trying to keep their loved one safe. Recent research has revealed the huge negative impact of Covid-19 on those living with dementia and those who care for them.

It is projected that the number of people living with dementia is set to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

Kate Lee, Chief Executive at the Alzheimer’s Society, has been reported as saying: “As lockdown begins to lift and the true extent of its knock-on effect to the health and wellbeing of people with dementia becomes evident, we’ve heard from people up and down the UK who are scared, lonely and struggling to cope… thousands of people with dementia, worst hit by the virus, have tragically died. Additionally, the dreadful deterioration of their mental health risks scarring thousands more in the long term.”

The Alzheimer’s Society has reported that the charity’s support services have been accessed more than half a million times during lockdown, with 15,000 calls to the society’s Dementia Connect Helpline. It is fantastic that this charity is there to support people who need it most.

As we consider our own future and the difficult blows that life throws at us, it becomes more and more important to put in place the correct legal documentation. This ensures that life for our family members, friends and carers can be made a little easier if we reach a stage where we are unable to deal with matters ourselves, due to the impact of dementia.

One important way to do this is to put in place lasting powers of attorney. To give someone you trust the ability to help you or to act for you in relation to your finances and health if you are unable to deal with matters yourself.

It is also extremely important to make sure that you have a valid will so as to set out for those left behind your wishes as to how your estate should be distributed.

Even if someone has already had a diagnosis of dementia, it is not too late to put in place a will and lasting power of attorney so long as that person still has mental capacity.

Birkett Long have put in place all appropriate Covid-19 secure measures to keep our staff and clients safe when visiting offices. We are able to welcome clients back in a safe and secure way with pre-booked appointments and sanitised rooms and facilities.

If you or a loved one need a will or lasting power of attorney, we would be happy to assist you. I can be contacted on 01206 217611 or ben.parmenter@birkettlong.co.uk

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