Across the world, the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the vulnerability of our elderly populations, who, as a group, are most at risk of this virus and also most likely to be living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as dementia. It has also sadly highlighted the degree of ageism which still permeates many countries’ social structures and institutions.
This webinar addresses some of the biggest challenges arising in long term care settings, including difficulties in enforcing social distancing and the impact of replacing face-to-face services through digital means, both for people affected by dementia and carers. In many places, care homes have become hot spots for the spread of the virus, even where lockdowns have been enforced, and this is complicated by a number of factors, including: the difficulty of enforcing social distancing, access to personal protective equipment (PPE), the use of agency staff and the prevalence of other NCDs.
Many day care operations have also had to cease, not being able to open their doors for face-to-face support services. While many are innovating and increasing telephone support and online sessions, what is the longer term impact for such day care and for the care staff that run them?
During the webinar, we heard the moving testimonial of Lynn Rogers, a resident of a care home in Victoria, Australia who is living with dementia:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been denied my regular exercise, even after sending a letter of formal complaint to my home, which was sent to the Ministry of Health.