Coronavirus, and what you can do about it

This is a difficult time for everyone, and if you’re supporting someone living with dementia the pandemic may present you with additional challenges, especially when it comes to communicating about what’s happening and why. We’ve pulled together some useful advice, resources and activities; we hope this will make things a little easier.

As a starting point, you might also want to consider taking a look at info packs put together by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – see the ‘Support and More info’ tab.

Important info: Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is introducing a new ‘phone first’ triage system, called CAV 24/7, for people needing urgent care which will signpost the user to the most appropriate service.

Instead of going straight to the Emergency Unit (EU), people will be asked to phone a dedicated telephone number, 0300 10 20 247. This will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This does not replace 999 calls; if people have an emergency that is life-threatening, they should still call 999.


How do I talk to someone living with dementia about Coronavirus?

Try not to scare people, but help them to stay safe. Place prompts about washing hands in obvious places about the house – this can help remind them of one of the first ways to stay safe.

  • We’ve got a ready-made one that you can download – see the Downloads tab

If someone lives on their own, try having a sign by the door that says ‘Call this person before you go out’, with your name and number underneath. You can then prompt them to stay in and offer support if anything is needed.

  • We’ve got a ready-made one that you can download – see the Downloads tab

Try likening the current situation to something more well-know, like the Spanish flu. People may remember learning about it or knowing someone who had it. This will help get across the severity of the situation without causing too much distress.

Try explaining what is happening in simple terms, for example: ‘There is a virus going around and we need to stay in the house as much as we can so we don’t catch it.

What activities would be good for them at the moment?

A memory talk

Try making a memory book, which a collection of photos, images or other bits and pieces that are important to someone you know who is living with dementia.Alternatively, use images from your smartphone and go through them together.

Talk about the memories these things bring up for them. If someone is talking about a place, you can use Google Maps Streetview to encourage the conversation – you may be able to get a different direction or memory from this.

Make a music playlist together

Music is great for wellbeing and fun to sing along to. There’s some great sites out there to do so – Spotify is a good one you can use for free, although there are adverts. You can also just search bits of music on YouTube – see what you can find!

  • You’ll find some good tools for this in the Links and Tools tab above.

Watch some videos online

On websites like YouTube and Vimeo there’s lots of content from all different categories and eras – great for having a laugh or reminiscing.

Household Activities

You can do activities in the house that are good for stimulation. For example, folding washing; pairing socks, playing cards, baking, sorting out cutlery, dusting – the list goes on. Any activity that gets someone moving a little and their mind working on the task at hand is great.

Virtual safaris, performances, church services and more

There’s some fantastic places online you can watch live broadcasts all sorts of things, from the safety of home.

  • We’ve collected many of these together in the Links and Tools tab above.

More online activities

As well as the tools we’ve got on our Links and Tools tab, here’s an article with details on some weird and wonderful ways to keep busy online

A big information pack on activities from The Health Innovation Network

A big and really helpful list of online activities specifically written for older adults during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Where can I go to get more advice?

Here’s some really useful resources for any more questions you may have or difficulties you may be facing. We’ll try and keep this updated so check back soon.

Local service numbers

Service numbers Cardiff Service numbers Vale
Age Cymru 08000 223 444 (will call at regular intervals over the age of 70) Age Cymru 08000 223 444 (will call at regular intervals over the age of 70)
Cardiff Council 02920 872087 Vale of Glamorgan Council 01446 700111
Cardiff and the Vale Memory Team 02920 716971 Cardiff and the Vale Memory Team 02920 716971
Social Services 029 2023 4234 Social Services 01446 700111
Care and Repair 02920 473337 Care and Repair 02920 473337
Dementia Connect 0333 1503456 Dementia Connect 0333 1503456
Silver line – for the over 50s 0800 470 8090 Silver Line – for the over 50s 0800 470 8090
Samaritans 0330 094 5717 Samaritans 0330 094 5717

Other useful information

Food deliveries:

Ways to keep in touch:

  • Useful tooks for staying in touch include the following – search for them on your phone’s app store:
    • What’sApp
    • Facebook Messenger
    • Skype
    • Facetime
    • Zoom

Please note: we do not endorse these tools; this list is just for information. Always research apps to ensure safe and private use.