7th April 2020

Alzheimer's Support has received a grant of £6,000 from Wiltshire Community Foundation to support its newly created telephone service.

Staff from the charity who would normally be running day clubs, arranging community groups and making home support visits, are now spending their time keeping in touch by telephone with the families who rely on those services.

In the first two weeks of lockdown, they made more than 800 calls each week, offering reassurance, advice and support to people isolated at home.

CEO Babs Harris said: "We know how much people living with dementia benefit from social connection, keeping active with other people, familiar faces and familiar routines. We know how much the husbands and wives and family members need breaks and respite. This is why the current situation is so very difficult for families affected by dementia, and for our own colleagues who feel a real sense of loss when they cannot provide those benefits.

"Our new telephone service, which we set up even before the lockdown was officially announced, is our way of helping people living with dementia in Wiltshire to cope with the restrictions.

"People will get a phone call from a member of staff they know well, at the time they would normally be with us. It is not just a quick hello but as long as it needs to be. We're using Facetime where we can so people can see the person they are talking to and have that visual prompt."

She said many of the calls had been difficult, as people are finding it hard at home, but that they would continue for as long as needed.

As well as the emotional support and advice about activities to do at home, staff check if any shopping is needed or medication collected. 

Babs said: "We are delivering many bags of groceries each week, queuing up for medication, and making sure the families we support continue to feel supported and in touch."

"Our charity has been hard hit by the current crisis and is losing income every day that our services are closed. This grant from Wiltshire Community Foundation is a very helpful contribution to the costs of running the phone service and we are also appealing to the public to help support us in the months ahead.

Dementia and Coronavirus