How We Are Staying Safe During COVID-19
Essex Dementia Care were thrilled to re-open our doors on the 12th April! The last twelve months have been difficult for everyone and we cannot wait to welcome you all back as soon as possible. We have exciting plans for the year ahead and welcome a number of new members of staff to the charity.
Essex Dementia Care continues to contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and families across Essex, who are living with dementia, by offering support and guidance throughout their journey.
We aim to reach as many people as we can within Essex and contribute to the wider community involvement in the dementia agenda.
Right now, welcoming you back safely is our main priority – we can assure you that the following measures have been put in place in order to keep everyone safe in our centres;
- All Essex Dementia Care staff members have had their first vaccine
- COVID tests will be carried out on all staff members on a weekly basis
- Social distancing will be monitored at all times
- Reduced amount of people allowed into the centres
- The use of appropriate PPE will be used as required
- Regular cleaning of contact points will be carried out hourly
- On entry to the centres, every individual will be temperature checked
- Hand sanitisers will be provided around the centres.
Life in lockdown for a person with dementia
COVID-19 has affected us all, but has been especially challenging for those living with dementia. It has taken away the opportunity for daily routines and social interaction, which is such an important part of every day life. We know that people with dementia are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, therefore we are there to support you the best we can.
Kelly Bleasdale, Senior Manager for EDC, comments:
“At Essex Dementia Care, we understand that it can be hard on the families of those experiencing dementia too. So, we do all that we can to support them as well, by providing advice and a listening ear, as well as time away from their caring role. During the first COVID lockdown, we wanted to do as much as we could to continue being there for these families, so we provided a phone line support, which we were told was invaluable. However, we were also made aware that the absence of EDC activity and social engagement took its toll on a number of those that would usually benefit from our services. We have received feedback stating that some individuals’ mental health deteriorated considerably during lockdown but that they improved greatly after services resumed, thankfully. In one case, communication skills even improved with the return of EDC services and, in another, conditions at home eased too”.
Trevor lives with his wife Carol and, before the pandemic, would usually attend the Oasis workshop. Fortunately though, Trevors One to One support continued throughout lockdown, with a practitioner visiting him weekly at home. Through playing games and having conversations, Trevor is able to express himself and Carol finds having the same person visit Trevor every week lovely as they have built a really strong relationship.
“Living with someone who has Dementia and is disabled has been challenging and obviously made a difference throughout lockdown. The four hours that Trev used to spend at the Oasis centre has been taken away from us which has been difficult and has meant that I haven’t been able to do the jobs and shopping I would normally get done in that time. The practitioner who supports Trev is able to bring all of his old skills out again and he just acts himself, it’s so lovely to see. They play dominoes and cards, paint and make little wooden models!”
“Having the One to One service that Essex Dementia Care offers has been amazing during lockdown and carried out safely throughout!”
Alan was diagnosed with Dementia five years ago and lives with his wife Beryl. It’s been very difficult for Alan throughout lockdown to not have contact with anyone else. Alan has little understanding about the current situation and questions why people can not come into the house when they drop the shopping off. Beryl says ‘Alan misses structure in his day’. Whilst they have enjoyed the weekly quiz Essex Dementia Care have organised during lockdown, Beryl cannot wait until the Every Day Counts activity centre reopens as she misses having time by herself to relax and complete jobs around the house. She believes Alan enjoys his time with Essex Dementia Care and the staff are always welcoming – she’s even finding other groups for Alan to be a part of.
Tony is very social and likes to be with people, so this period of time has been very difficult. Both him and his wife, Carol, have missed Essex Dementia Care’s workshops a lot and can’t wait to receive the support again. To keep Tony’s mind occupied, they complete word-searches and look through old photographs regularly.
“I think I’ve missed Essex Dementia Care as much as Tony has over the past few months, having those four hours to myself to relax and get things done used to really help. As for Tony, he’s really missing the crafts they used to do”.
“When he used to come home from the workshops, he was always so happy and positive!”
George lives with his wife Brenda and his condition has sadly deteriorated over lockdown. George lived by a routine which he kept up with every day; the Every Day Counts workshop and One to One service were apart of this during the week. Now he does very little socialising and Brenda says his routine has become monotonous; ‘breakfast, wait for the carers to come, lunch and then wait for dinner and finally bed’. It has affected him drastically, but Brenda looks forward to when Essex Dementia Care is all set up again which, she says will be wonderful!
“We have a lovely man named Frank who comes for 2 hours on a Friday morning and this really helps me to get on with some jobs. Frank gets him doing things he would never do at home with me and you can’t make him. He plays dominoes, cards, darts and listens to music which really helps him whilst the centres aren’t open. COVID has had more of an impact on older people and I just can’t wait for both of us to socialise with people again and see the family – little things that don’t cost anything!”
“I think the club is excellent! They are lovely and I cannot fault anything”.
Willy started going to the activity centres just over a year ago and took some time to get used to it and get to know the people. then all of a sudden he didn’t understand why the first lockdown was happening. He was told by his wife, Margaret, about the centres, but it didn’t register and as time has gone on he claims he’s never been to an activity centre.
“I really hope when he gets back into a routine of going to the workshops, it will trigger something for him to remember Essex Dementia Care. Throughout lockdown, EDC have been very supportive and I just can’t fault them. I have someone ring me weekly to see how things are going for us and am always told to ring if I want to talk or am just having a bad day. In times like this, it has made me realise how supportive they are and I don’t know where I would be without them”.
“The service has been an absolute god send…I can’t remember how I coped before!”