The way dementia patients in care homes have been treated during this pandemic “should make us sick with shame and pity”. Afflicted by an illness that attacks their memory and sense of self, they draw special comfort from the presence of loved ones. Yet in the name of infection control, the Government has seen to it that this vital human link has been denied them. No longer visited, they feel confused, abandoned. But it’s not the fault of the care homes: it’s the grotesquely inflexible official guidelines, which prohibit those who run the homes from devising sensible precautions while still acting humanely towards those in their charge.
That’s why John’s Campaign, a not-for-profit movement aimed at getting the Government to reform these rules, is so worthy of support. One of its main concerns is to ensure that family carers are no longer seen as “visitors”, but instead treated as a crucial part of the clinical team needing the same protection, testing and status as other key workers. The Government must be made to bring this “avoidable suffering” to an end.
(Nicci Gerrard, The Observer and The Week, 19 September 20)
My comment: Caring for people with memory loss can be very stressful. I have personal experience of dealing with someone with memory loss and intense frustration, which manifested itself as physical attacks on me personally, and upon others. This resulted in having to move her from home to home when carers could no longer cope. I salute those, usually poorly paid, who undertake this caring task on a daily basis.