Living in Lockdown
As our shared understanding of Covid-19 increases, it has become abundantly clear some groups in our society are at a greater risk of catching the virus and of becoming severely ill. These are groups that are already affected by health inequalities:
The overwhelming majority of UK deaths from Covid-19 have been among the over 70s.
There appears a disproportionately high risk amongst minority ethnic (BAME) populations.
Mortality rates are higher amongst those living in the most deprived areas
The most vulnerable are those with “pre-existing conditions.” Between March and June, the most common of these conditions in England and Wales was dementia.
There are, of course, multiple reasons why dementia may make people more vulnerable to Covid-19, or indeed any virus. But this vulnerability is not solely about the risk of dying from the disease. We know that people with dementia – and their carers – have also experienced a range of other challenges as a result of lockdown. Some of these are the same problems that society as a whole has been dealing with: frustration, isolation, dealing with bereavement. Living with dementia, however, has magnified them. Other problems are specific to this community: people losing condition and cognitive ability through lack of stimulation and social contact; compromised access to health care through the long months of lockdown.
It is in response to this that people with dementia have been identified as one of the at-risk groups in need of targeted support as part of the cross-borough recovery plan currently in development. The question is what the support should look like.
This report, the second in our Dementia Voices series, may help guide our answers. It is based on conversations with around 60 people with dementia and their carers in the Colchester area, between 23 March 2020 (when lockdown began) and 8 July 2020. These were unscripted and unstructured; they were simply welfare calls, as described in the following section. The calls gave people with dementia and their carers an opportunity to talk freely about their concerns and challenges.
Click here to read the full report :