We’re asking communities to look out for families with dementia this winter

February 14, 2020
Look after families with dementia this winter

Our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline is experiencing a significant increase in calls during this winter period in a climate of stretched healthcare services.

Some of the most common problems are social isolation, worry and stress for families living with dementia. The Helpline is therefore urging communities to improve their knowledge of the increased risk to people with dementia during the wintertime. This can include the flu, which can cause additional distress and the person with dementia admitted into hospital – this is at a time when there have been increased admissions to hospital around this illness.

The Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline is there to answer a range of questions to help communities know what kind of support families in distress need. In the winter months, this can include advice on keeping a person with dementia warm, engaged and connected through their local community.

Some important advice from our Helpline Nurses for communities to support people with dementia during winter includes:

  • Checking-in with a person with dementia and their family. Even if you’re a neighbour, just asking if someone’s ok can have a massive impact. You can also check in to see if there are any supplies they need like warm clothing or food
  • Getting a flu vaccine for the whole family as soon as possible. Community pharmacies can deliver this in people’s own homes
  • Never forgetting the joys of indoor activities if the weather gets too cold and you’re unable to go outside. Puzzles and games can help to engage a person with dementia and can be enjoyed by the whole family, friends and even wider community
  • Speaking to your local council to find out what resources are available, or if you’re not sure how to do that, phone the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline for advice on finding local support networks on 0800 888 6678 or emailing helpline@dementiauk.org

Paulette Winchester-Joseph, Deputy Clinical Lead of the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline said: “From the calls we receive on our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, we know that there are significant challenges faced by people living with dementia and their families during wintertime. Coping with depression, anxiety and social isolation are some of the more common issues but our Admiral Nurses can support families affected by dementia through these tough times.

“This is why we’re urging communities to look out for families who may be vulnerable, including some families living with dementia, and to encourage them to access local resources or groups, wherever possible.

“Some community services provide invaluable support to help people with dementia and their families cope better during this challenging time of the year. Whether it’s through a group which specialises in singing or dancing, exercise classes done in the home or even regular check-ins from neighbours or friends. We want to ensure that families affected by dementia always have someone they can turn to, not only during the winter months but indeed all year round.”

Dementia Helpline

The Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline is for anyone with a question or concern about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Find out more

Keeping warm in cold weather

People with dementia can be especially at risk when the temperature drops below 8C. Here’s our advice.

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Keep Warm, Keep Well

For more information on how to stay well in winter, please visit the NHS Keep Warm, Keep Well resource

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