Key information for you now that restrictions have lifted

Now that restrictions have lifted, life will look more similar to how it was pre-pandemic. However, we understand that there are some families who may be feeling anxious about what this new period will mean, particularly if you have got used to a specific routine during lockdown. Here are some important bits of information for you in this new stage: 

Stay in the know about how restrictions have changed   

Restrictions have been removed in many parts of the UK, but the rules vary from country to country.

Please note that whilst restrictions are loosened across the four nations, some travel companies and supermarkets are requesting that their customers still wear face coverings.  

To stay up to date on what is happening in each of the nations, please see the below links:   

For Scotland, visit gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

For Wales, visit gov.wales/coronavirus  

For Northern Ireland, visit nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19  

For England, visit gov.uk/coronavirus 

Watch out for new symptoms 

With new variants circulating, it is important to find a credible source of information such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website, so that you can keep up to date with information about coronavirus (Covid-19). 

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are still a new and continuous cough, fever and a change in smell and taste. There are however new variants circulating which are associated with different symptoms. These can include a headache, a sore throat and a runny nose.  

With the vaccination programme progressing rapidly, the rules around self-isolation will be relaxed in some parts of the UK from mid-August for anyone who has been double vaccinated. Please check the government guidance for your nation to see what applies.  

Wear a face covering where practical and safe to do so 

We know that there is some confusion around the use of face coverings given recent rule changes in England. We still encourage families affected by dementia to wear one to protect themselves and where it is practical for the person with dementia to do so. This is particularly the case in crowded and tight spaces, with Transport for London still making the use of face coverings compulsory after the end of restrictions on 19th July. 

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have still made the wearing of face coverings mandatory in certain circumstances, so please check individual country guidance. 

Steps to take whilst you wait for a diagnosis of dementia 

We know that many families are waiting to get a diagnosis, to access support and to plan for the future, due to delays in accessing GP or Memory Clinic services, caused by Covid-19.  

There are still steps you can take in the interim. 

You can keep a symptom diary, or a note of any changes in your relative; that way key issues can be listed to inform the assessor when the time comes for assessment. 

Starting a Life Story can be a good way to record your relative’s needs and wishes to allow for better communication between health and social care staff. It needs to reflect your relative’s interests, personality, likes and dislikes. You can see Dementia UK’s own guidance and template on this here. 

Many activities, which you know your relative enjoys, can help to reduce the symptoms of dementia. This can include music, exercise and anything else which stimulates long-term memories such as aromatherapy. We have written about this in greater detail here. 

You may also wish to raise this issue with your local MP so that attention increases at government level. For further information on how to do this, please see our campaigns guidance on this here. 

If you need any practical suggestions of how to cope during this time, our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline is available up and down the country, as well as our dementia clinics through our partners at Leeds Building Society.  

To support families and healthcare professionals through this backlog, we have made investment into more Admiral Nurse roles working directly with GPs so that they can give families further reassurance and access to support.  

Looking out for people with long-term health conditions  

People with dementia are more likely to live with other long-term health conditions which could make them more susceptible to coronavirus, or reduce the efficacy of the vaccines. As legal restrictions are lifted, and with face coverings no longer being mandatory, it is understandable that this may cause people anxiety. Continuing to wear a face covering and maintaining social distancing as much as possible can help protect you and others around you.  

If you are not comfortable leaving home, then you may wish to rely on support networks such as friends or family to buy you essentials. You can also contact your local council to see what support is available to you. 

A return of face-to-face support and social groups

Some support groups for people affected by dementia will be resuming face-to-face support. After months of isolation, or getting used to these groups in a virtual capacity, you may have some questions around how you and the person you support can adjust to attending these groups in person again.

Contact your local groups/face-to-face services to enquire about their new policies, numbers within their groups, expectations, and reopening guidelines.

Talk about returning to the service with your loved one living with dementia. Maybe use some reminiscence, looking at photos of activities they may have been involved in, or talk about friends that they might have made there.

If you encounter some anxiety or difficulties arise upon return to the service, you might find that a slow reintroduction would be more beneficial. A slow reintroduction can include attending for maybe half an hour as opposed to the full hour, or however long the session lasts. You could also think about attending the group virtually, or have a guided tour of the environment by a facilitator in advance of the session. Accompanying your loved one to the first couple of sessions and gradually reducing the time you spend there with the person with dementia, can be considered as well.

Check in with your care home provider  

During this time, care homes will still be taking health and safety measures to protect their residents and families. If you are concerned about restrictions loosening, check in with your care home to find out what they have in place; this can include outdoor visiting and visiting pods.  

In England, the main change is that there is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a resident has. ‘Essential care givers’ are also permitted in the home, even in the case of coronavirus outbreaks.  

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s guidance also provide more opportunities for families to be reunited with loved ones. Please see the individual guidance below for each of the four nations: 

gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes 

gov.wales/visits-care-homes-guidance-providers 

gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-adult-care-homes-visiting-guidance/ 

health-ni.gov.uk/publications/covid-19-guidance-nursing-and-residential-care-homes-northern-ireland

There is expected to be a booster vaccine in the autumn to protect some of the most vulnerable in society from Covid-19 – this will include care home residents. We will update this information as and when we hear more.  

Advice on going out  

In this new period, people may be thinking of going out to public spaces and other amenities a lot more. We have put together a going out series for families to make the most out of trips to the galleriescinemas and restaurants. 

It’s important to have a think about the preferences of the person with dementia before you decide to do an activity, as well as what is most comfortable and practical for you to do.  

Admiral Nurse Helpline

Talk to one of our specialist dementia nurses on our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline. Call 0800 888 6678 or email helpline@dementiauk.org Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm or at weekends, 9am-5pm

Find out more

Closer to Home clinic

Book a clinic appointment via phone or zoom with an Admiral Nurse at a time that best suits you

Book here

Giving the Covid-19 vaccine to someone living with dementia

If you are close to the person with dementia, such as being their carer, relative or their registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare, then you may want to think how you can prepare and support them to have the vaccine

Read more