Living with dementia at any time brings everyday challenges for the person and those around them. Coronavirus is making daily life much harder: 700,000 people with dementia are likely to be self-isolating in their homes, making it harder for them to access food, medication or social interaction. Alice Billin of the Alzheimer’s Society outlines what actions you can take as their landlord to provide support during this time.
Ensure food and essentials
Many people with dementia are living alone without relatives and friends living nearby. For many, they don’t know how to or are unable to get the essentials they need. Alzheimer’s Society are hearing worrying stories about people with dementia who are struggling to get the basic food or medication they need.
Many people are volunteering to assist with deliveries of these items. If you wish to do this, you should reach out to your tenants to offer your assistance and liaise with them as to the best method of delivering items without physical contact.
Think about whether the best way to get in contact is by phone, email or letter and remember that not everyone is online. If you have no luck getting in touch with your tenant, you could consider getting in touch with their emergency contact and arranging support via them.
Keep in touch
One of the hardest things about staying at home for so long is feeling isolated. Even before coronavirus, over a third of people with dementia said they felt lonely. With usual support services stopped and many people isolating alone, people with dementia are at risk of loneliness during this time.
Landlords have direct communication links with their tenants. You can keep in touch through regular phone calls, letters or emails just to touch base and have a chat. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have. For some tenants, this could be the only social interaction they have.
Provide support from home
If you’re unable to provide hands-on support, perhaps because you yourself are self-isolating, know that there are many things you can do from home to provide support for people affected by dementia:
Signpost your tenants to Alzheimer’s Society’s support. If you or your tenants need advice, please call the Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456 (open every day). For welsh speakers please call on 03300 947 400.
Make sure tenants know about local community groups offering assistance, such as Covid Mutual Aid groups.
Provide phone numbers to local stores or convenience stores so they can phone up and place deliveries or, where your tenant requests extra support, consider ordering deliveries on their behalf.
Keep in touch over the phone.
Housing plays a vital role in the lives and wellbeing of people living with and affected by dementia. Alzheimer’s Society needs landlords to take action and support people affected by dementia at this difficult time to keep them safe in their own homes and connected to their community in new and creative ways. Thank you for everything you’re doing to keep your tenants safe.
Have you been supporting tenants affected by dementia? Tell us about it at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/corona/
For more information on coronavirus and your lettings check out the NRLA’S coronavirus guidance for landlords.