I would like to start this update by thanking all of our supporters, staff, volunteers and members throughout Scotland who, despite the current circumstances, made Dementia Awareness Week a truly great success. Even though we are all so isolated from each other, we still came together and made the most of our opportunity to spread the word, share the good work and lay down our campaign for change and greater equality through relaunching our Fair Dementia Care campaign. Thank you all so much.
It is now over three months since our very first update on the impact of the coronavirus and, since then, the world that we live in has seen such significant changes. Despite this, we are still here for you. I am very proud of how Alzheimer Scotland’s staff and volunteers have worked incredibly hard to adapt quickly and ensure that we continue to make sure no one is on their own. Our Helpline, Dementia Advisors, Link Workers, Community Activity Organisers and local support teams continue to support thousands of people every day. Although not yet perfect or finished, the plans we had been making to develop better online support and digital connectivity were rolled out in weeks rather than years, helping many people keep connected. I really hope they are helping to make things easier and have a positive impact on your lives.
The Scottish Government recently announced that Scotland is now able to move in to phase 2 of the route map. As a result, we have had many questions about Alzheimer Scotland’s support returning to ‘normal’, especially as the world adapts to its new normal with the ease on restrictions. Unfortunately, many of the restrictions that have been lifted do not apply to our services, therefore we have to press on with our current support until we can get the go ahead to change. We are really sorry about this - we know how much these face to face services mean to the people we support. I hope it will not be too much longer.
We are also still working with the Scottish Government and seeking their agreement to re-open a small number of our Dementia Resource Centres. As I have outlined previously, this would provide the opportunity for one or two people at any one time to attend a local centre and participate in individual therapeutic activity, and also provide carers and families with a much-needed short period of respite. This proposal is under careful consideration and we remain optimistic that this will be the first form of face to face contact that we recommence in the near future. I will of course update you as soon as we are in a position to move this forward. We realise just how important and essential this support will be and we are desperately keen to increase the local support we can provide.
Towards the end of last week, the Scottish Government also announced that a phased approach to visiting people living in care homes would commence from Friday 3 July. You can read our statement here.
I would also like to highlight that we have updated our coronavirus guidance, in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Nurse Consultants. The guidance has information on signs and symptoms of coronavirus, what to do if you have any symptoms and helpful tips & contacts. You can access this information here.
Finally, I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe. If you need any information, support or just a listening ear, please contact our Freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 anytime or contact any of our local teams who are all still operating and will do their best to help you.