Niamh Hennelly and Suzanne Cahill
A preliminary report from Ireland reviewing the impact of Covid-19 on people living with dementia and their family caregivers:
- Age is by far the strongest risk factor for dementia and for COVID-19, meaning that many people living with dementia are likely to contract and die from COVID-19.
- Public health guidelines will be difficult for many people living with dementia to adhere to and follow due to cognitive impairment.
- Cocooning for people living with dementia will be particularly difficult and people are at significant risk of social isolation, increased anxiety, stress and loneliness.
- The temporary cessation of usual services such as support groups, Alzheimer cafés, day care services and cognitive stimulation therapy will impact significantly on people living with dementia.
- In Ireland, residential care settings have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, where up to 72% of residents are people living with dementia.
- People living with dementia have not featured very much in public policy discussions on the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Public policy has not focused on supporting family caregivers who may be under increased pressure due to the cessation of usual services and supports in addition to the anxiety and stress of living through a global pandemic.