All information has been sourced from the Alzheimer's society website

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus causes a new illness (COVID-19) that can affect your lungs and airways.

Coronavirus symptoms in most people will be mild – a bit like cold or flu. They include: 

  • a cough

  • a high temperature

  • difficulty with breathing (shortness of breath).

A few people will get worse symptoms and need medical attention. Doctors think that people aged over 65 and anyone living with an underlying long-term health condition is more likely to get worse symptoms.

How is coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus probably spreads in cough droplets. Because it’s a new illness, we’re still learning more about it. 

To help prevent it spreading, everyone should follow this advice:

  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds – use soap and water or a hand sanitiser

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue

  • If you don’t have a tissue use your elbow, not your hands

  • Put used tissues in the bin quickly.

What should I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?

If you have a new, continuous cough or a high temperature (or both) you should stay at home for 7 days. Do not go to a GP, pharmacy (chemist) or hospital – this will help protect yourself and others. If you use the internet, visit advice about staying at home for more information.

Use the NHS 111 coronavirus service – visit this online or call 111 – if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

  • your condition gets worse

  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Somebody I care about is living with dementia. What should I do about coronavirus?

If you’re caring for a person living with dementia, you may be more worried about coronavirus. 

There are some things you can do to help prevent the person from catching any germs or viruses. If you need to self-isolate, there are also other ways to support the person with dementia. 

  • Check that they have handwash and hand sanitiser available – and that any visitors know to make use of it

  • Clean things that are handled a lot, such as remote controls, door handles and taps

  • If the person or their primary carer is self-isolating, you might help out with practical tasks. The person might need shopping dropped off, medicine collected or some library books left for them – ask how you can help

  • Make sure the person has access to the medication they need. If you or the person with dementia is advised to self-isolate, speak to a GP or local pharmacist to make sure they will have a supply. Keep checking in to make sure they are continuing to take the right medication. 

  • Check that they know who to call if they get unwell – leave the number prominently displayed

  • If the person is going to be stuck in doors for a while, encourage them to stay active and consider gentle exercises. Try to make sure they have activities that they can engage in at home as well; reading, magazines, jigsaws, music, knitting, their favourite TV/radio programmes available

  • Keep in touch. If you can’t visit the person, then stay in contact by phone, post, email or Skype. Tell the person that you’re thinking of them and encourage others to do so as well.

How does physical activity help?

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help your overall wellbeing. It can give you opportunities to spend time with other people and support you to be independent, which is good both for you and others. It can also help you to feel more positive and mean you’re more likely to keep doing the things you enjoy.
Physical activity may improve some aspects of memory, such as helping to have clearer memories of certain events, both for people with dementia as well as those not living with the condition. It may also help to lower the risk of a person developing the condition at all. However, physical activity has not been shown to slow down or prevent dementia from progressing once a person has the condition. Physical benefits Some examples of how activity and exercise benefit you physically include:
 improving the health of your heart and blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease reducing the risk of some types of cancer (especially breast and colon cancer), stroke and type 2 diabetes improving your physical fitness – maintaining strong muscles and flexible joints can help you to stay independent (which can include enabling you to do daily activities like dressing, cleaning and cooking) improving hand-eye coordination (the ability to use what you see to move your hands in response, for example eating, tying laces or hitting a ball when playing tennis) helping to keep bones strong and reducing the risk of osteoporosis  (a disease that affects the bones, making them weak and more likely  to break) improving sleep reducing the risk of falls by improving strength and balance.

You should only ever exercise as much as you feel able to. If you overdo it, this can be bad for your health. For instance, too much activity for you could lead to problems such as sprains, dizziness or falls.
Pay attention to your body. If, when you exercise or do something active, you are in pain or feel unwell or are short of breath, stop doing this activity. You should then speak to your GP.

Physical activity if you have mobility difficulties

There are a number of ways to keep active even if you have mobility difficulties. Here are some examples.
 For an exercise to try in the bedroom – move your hips to shuffle along the edge of a bed, in a sitting position, from one end of the bed to the other. This helps exercise the muscles needed for standing up from  a chair. Another exercise for the bedroom is to lie as flat as possible on a bed for 20–30 minutes each day, trying to reduce the gap between the curve of your back and the bed. This allows for a good stretch, strengthens abdominal muscles and gives your neck muscles a chance to relax. To help with balance and posture – try standing up and staying balanced. Hold on to a support if you need to. This can be done at the same time as everyday activities, for example when you’re doing the washing up. Sit unsupported and upright for a few minutes each day – you could sit on a seat with no back or a bed. This exercise helps to strengthen the stomach and back muscles used to support posture. You might want to ask someone to stay with you for this. Stand up and move about regularly. Moving regularly helps to keep leg muscles strong and maintain good balance.


Physical activity and exercise
 Seated exercises help with muscle strength and balance and may be better for anyone who finds standing exercises more difficult. However, these can put a lot of strain on the lower back, so it’s best to speak to the GP before trying these.
Some examples of seated exercises include:
 marching with your feet turning your upper body from side to side raising your heels and toes raising your arms towards the ceiling raising your opposite arm and leg straightening your legs together or in turn clapping under your legs cycling your legs making circles with your arms moving from sitting to standing.


Gardening

Gardening may help to strengthen your muscles and improve your breathing.

Many people see it as an opportunity to get outdoors and do something meaningful and enjoyable. You can vary the activity level according to what you feel able to do. This means you could do something that requires less exertion like weeding or pruning, or a more intensive activity like raking or mowing the grass.
 


 

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