New report: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on people living with dementia in Ireland

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:

Key findings:

  • 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.

2 thoughts on “New report: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on people living with dementia in Ireland”

  1. Cocooning is not good for people with dementia – they are in need of MORE intellectual stimulation to keep going, not less – thanks for this excellent article. Is it possible to create a timetable for people to ring them at regular times?

  2. Cocooning for people with dementia is of course very difficult. Some people certainly those with more moderate to severe dementia may be unable to use a phone. Staff in nursing homes are likely to be very busy. Some useful resources for people with dementia have been developed by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the DSIDC to help staff in these difficult times.

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