It has been widely recognized that those living with a dementia diagnosis are amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic; sweeping closures of day services, families unable to visit, isolation due to shielding and many services being suspended have all played a part in creating significant challenges for those we support.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed this first hand, sometimes being the only professional to have seen someone in person for many months, seeing the struggles and stresses weighing heavy on families and carers has been incredibly difficult. This crisis’ has led to admissions to hospital, long term placements in residential settings and sadly over the course of the year some deaths of much loved and dearly missed patients. All of which has been heart-breaking and emotionally raw for our families but for our staff as well. Each person we support becomes part of the CARIAD family and as much as this has been a great source of strength for us it is one that brings such sadness too. This year has been the hardest year of our careers by far.

Even though this year has seen so many challenges I have been so proud of the response of the team.  Where other services were unable to continue the CARIAD service remained a constant. Even during the pandemic we have been looking to develop and push the service forward to ensure our patients remain well supported and their needs met. Groups have become virtual and get togethers on zoom with afternoon tea and even virtual zoo visits have become a way of escaping the isolation.

We have even been able to start new groups specifically supporting carers with the emotions they may face along their dementia journey, utilizing the changes the pandemic has brought and using technology to widen the geographical remit of the support we offer. The team has highlighted the lack of support available to those younger people with a diagnosis of dementia and has spent time evaluating and scoping what support we can provide.

We are still here, we have been here all along and we can’t wait for lockdown to ease and things to become safe so we can welcome everyone back in person. Hopefully see you all soon (not virtually!!)

The CARIAD team