Talking about coronavirus to a person with dementia

 

Head of Services, Sue Hinds and Dementia Carers Services Practitioner, Lissy Edwards, share their tips for talking about coronavirus to a person living with dementia. Both Sue and Lissy are Speech & Language Therapists who have experience of working in the NHS for many years before joining Dementia Carers Count.

 

 

Tips for making communication easier when you’re talking to someone living with dementia about coronavirus

 

Some people may have heard the words Coronavirus, COVID-19 or seen people on TV wearing face masks. It is important to acknowledge this and provide the opportunity to understand it more.

 

 

If you need to explain Coronavirus, try to keep the message simple.

 

 

Use images, gestures, written words – don’t just rely on giving information verbally It may be useful to leave the written or verbal information that you use with them so that they can refer to it (see some suggested resources below).

 

 

Provide reassurance.

 

 

Try not to show any anxiety you might be feeling, we know that when people have difficulty understanding, they will fill in the gaps by reading your facial expressions, the sound of your voice and body movements/posture.

 

 

Our skilled practitioners recommend the following links to resources to support these conversations:

 

What is COVID-19: Downloadable Resource for people with Aphasia

 

Dealing with Covid-19

 

Coronavirus COVID -19: Accessible Information on Symptoms and What to do 

 

Here are a list of organisations that can support you and the person you care for during COVID-19

 

For more detail on how to maintain your wellbeing please see the advice written by Dr Ruth Watson, DCC Associate Practitioner and Clinical Psychologist.

 

For more ideas and tips to engage a person with dementia during self-isolation please see the advice written by Kate Legg, DCC Associate Practitioner and Occupational Therapist.