Covid-19 is impacting everyone’s lives, people across the country are staying at home, away from family, loved ones and friends. With thousands of people shielding and missing out on social contact, this can impact people’s physical and mental health.
A huge part of our business at Post Office and in our branches is about connecting people. Which is why we have partnered up with Alzheimer’s Society and launched a new campaign to get people to keep in touch with each other and to reminisce remotely ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday.
Alzheimer’s Society is concerned about how social isolation is increasing the symptoms of dementia for people affected. Increased isolation, compounded by the confusion of a change to daily routine, means that people with dementia are facing unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus pandemic – many of them feeling very alone. One study shows that loneliness and isolation can advance cognitive decline for people with dementia by up to 20%.* However, it’s not just older people and those living with dementia who can be affected; people across society are at risk of being lonely and out of touch with friends and family.
The new campaign encourages different generations within families to get in touch with isolated people in their lives and discuss shared experience between the current coronavirus pandemic, and to hear from the older generation how society recovered in the years following the end of World War Two.
Thoughts from people near and far...
Mick Norman, Area Manager for Greater London Region
Mick has been championing supporting vulnerable customers with Dementia. He runs regular training for Postmasters to become Dementia Friends, and helped hundreds of postmasters and team members understand what it is like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into actions within branch and at home.
Mick said: "Our branches see many vulnerable customers, including people with dementia who are often isolated and lonely. Those conversations at the counter really make a big difference, often they are the only interactions someone will have that week. People are even more lonely now than ever before, so encourage your customers and community to take part and re-connect this weekend.”
Nick Read, Post Office Chief Executive, said:
“Loneliness can have serious impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing. As a business, we are all about keeping people connected and there are so many ways to keep in touch with friends and family today. As we approach the 75thanniversary of VE Day, we are calling on younger generations to get in touch with older relatives and family friends to discuss their experience of World War Two and how life has changed over the years. We are stronger together and community has never been as important as it is now.”
Kate Lee, Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“We are delighted to partner with the Post Office to raise awareness of the loneliness and isolation people with dementia can experience, especially during this current crisis. Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on us all, but for people with dementia, the situation is even more serious. Some people are struggling to get essential care, confused by losing their much-needed routines, with their symptoms increasing and health deteriorating because of a lack of social contact. Carers are also feeling isolated and struggling to get respite. Our Dementia Connect support line receives thousands of calls, and we need urgent donations now to increase telephone and virtual support for people with dementia to make sure they know they aren’t alone.
“This VE Day project is a fantastic way for people across the UK to share their history, connect with those who are isolated, and come together, no matter what generation you come from.”
Tips on how to support someone with dementia to communicate, and advice on how to provide support through this pandemic can be found at www.alzheimers.org.uk