Care for the Elderly

D4c11984 94cb 4f9e 9ab1 3a36d739f639

My mum will soon be celebrating her 92nd birthday. She is no longer able to live independently but she still enjoys each day and is well looked after in a nursing home. I used to love visiting her but, due to the coronavirus, contact is no longer possible and even phone calls are beyond us. She has a mild form of dementia which has robbed her of her short-term memory. It is my consolation that she may not have noticed, so acutely, the lack of contact but I am sure she will be aware that things have changed.

Unfortunately, it is not an unfamiliar story. There are many who face similar or even more difficult situations. Under the new government restrictions, men and women over 70 – including around 700,000 people with dementia – are asked to stay at home. This may result in people being completely cut off from their families, friends and communities. Those living alone could become devoid of all social contact.

Thankfully, there are excellent organisations working hard to help the elderly and those living with dementia (and their carers). These include Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK.

The Alzheimer’s Society are developing a new service called Companion Calls to try and address these unprecedented challenges. They want to develop teams of volunteers, who will proactively telephone vulnerable people with dementia, to chat, check on their wellbeing and, if necessary, refer to other services like the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect Support Line. They hope to put a virtual arm around the shoulders of people with dementia and let them know they are not alone. If this is something that interests you, please contact them*.

The principle behind Companion Calls is not unique to the Alzheimer’s Society. The national charity Oasis has opened a free phone line. And here, in King's Lynn, West Norfolk Befriending have been doing this kind of work for many years. In this newsletter there are links to lots of new groups that are aiming to keep people connected.

One of the positive things that is already emerging from this crisis is that people are finding new and creative ways to keep in contact. My mum's home is now offering video calls via Facebook. I have also just discovered the application Zoom, which has enabled me to 'meet up' with friends in a group video call; my church used it for our Sunday service, and my father-in-law to participate in his weekly community choir!

Let’s hope that when this is all over, we will have developed the habit of putting people first and finding new ways to offer care. In the meantime let’s do all we can to support each other.

Keep safe,


*Alzheimer's Society

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philipians 4 vers 8