Dementia in the days of COVID-19

During this time of increased isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people living with dementia and the people who care for them are disconnected from support networks and facing unexpected challenges. It is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s mission to ensure that no one walks alone on the dementia journey. Now and in the coming weeks, caregivers and people living with dementia will share their everyday challenges and successes as a part of our Dementia in the days of COVID-19 series.

Linda and Ruth's story: Celebrating the little wins during COVID-19

When Linda Hodgkin, a life-long member of Girl Guides, was diagnosed with dementia, she applied the Guiding Promise to her life.

“I promised I would do my best,” Linda says. “So far I am, but it’s getting harder.”

Linda lives independently in Courtenay with the support of her friend Ruth Seabloom. The two women met through Girl Guiding many years ago and have remained close, spending much of their time together, including weekly attendance at Minds in Motion®, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s fitness and social program for people in the early stages of dementia and a care partner. Since physical distancing measures were put in place to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, life for the two women has changed drastically.

“The biggest thing that I’m struggling with is Minds in Motion®,” Linda says. “It offered activities that were mental and physical and I’m really missing it. We had become a close group and met outside the group. It’s hard.”

Linda also took drumming and card-making classes and went for walks around her neighbourhood with her dog Bentley. Now she’s no longer confident in her ability to venture out on her own and the in-person activities that made up her routine have been replaced with fear of forgetting the physical distancing guidelines and the feeling that she’s negatively affecting Ruth’s life with her need for added support. While Ruth insists that’s far from the case, both women agree that it’s a challenging time – and one when we all need to be kinder to ourselves.

“I wasn’t lonely before when I was on my own,” says Linda. “I would talk to my neighbours. I would go for walks on the beach. I can’t do that anymore. Now I’m trying to celebrate the little wins. I made biscuits last night. I hate to cook, but I did well.”

Even though activities might be cancelled, it’s important to keep structure in your life and communicate with your friends as much as you can, Ruth says. “No one can be alone all of the time.”

“Don’t worry about hitting a homer all of the time,” Linda adds. “Just get to first base and walk from there.”

If you have questions or concerns about dementia or caring for someone living with dementia, call the First Link® Dementia Helpline. Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. in English (1-800-936-6033) and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Cantonese or Mandarin (1-833-674-5007) and Punjabi (1-833-674-5003).

Last Updated: 06/17/2020