Coronavirus (COVID-19) - dementia and COVID-19: action plan

This national action plan plan sets out how we will build on our national response to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020 and how we will continue and expand that response in 2021 to continue to support recovery for people with dementia and their carers.

Being Part Of The Community

"The safe remobilisation of services and supports, support comes in all shapes and sizes, community supports will be equally important"

"A whole-community, intergenerational approach is the best way forward."

"please I would beg for one thing that has been ignored for some time… the importance of community for keeping us all going"

"when communities wanted to be resilient they didn't have a problem doing that… it may not have been written down and filed.. that's the value of the community side, it can respond, it's adaptable and flexible… they know the needs of Betty at number 22 without needing to go through a formal process"

  • During the pandemic, communities have come together, supported vulnerable people and helped reduce isolation. 75% of the Scottish population have wanted to volunteer in their community. The impact of the pandemic has reminded us just how social contact and involvement in community life means to people with dementia and that it can be as important as medical support in keeping people well for longer and living an independent life at home for as long as possible.
  • We want to build on this and engage with communities on how they can contribute to keeping people with dementia connected to community life and living safely and independently in their community for as long as possible.
  • Respondents told us how important feeling connected to others in their local community was and how detrimental it had been to overall wellbeing to have had no or reduced access to those community supports.
  • We will learn from and engage with partners to develop solutions to everyday challenges and create change led by lived experience, There are numerous positive examples of how local partnerships, charities and communities have and will continue to work to complement the impact of post-diagnostic support, the work of the NHS, and enhance and strengthen the resilience of our local communities.
  • The Dementia Friendly Fife project is a partnership between Fife Council, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, Alzheimer Scotland and the University of St Andrews and has been positively evaluated in 2020 for its social model of disability, assets-based and multi-generational approach and its importance as part of local community resilience in the context of COVID-19. In 2020 the Global Coalition on Aging, Alzheimer's Disease International and the Lien Dementia Innovation Readiness Index 2020-30 Global Cities named Glasgow City Council's dementia strategy, published in 2016, as second best globally for innovation. The report says that Glasgow 'offers a template for cities looking to improve early detection and diagnosis'. The strategy was also recognised for its priority focus on local community engagement and reducing stigma around dementia.
  • In addition, Alzheimer Scotland has a well-established and extensive network of community supports across Scotland, including Dementia Advisors, high street resource centres, community activities and reminiscence groups – and a national Dementia Friends programme. The Life Changes Trust has funded a wide range of dementia community groups which have been evaluated positively – and has funded Age Scotland's About Dementia project which engages with people with dementia and carers to help inform policy in areas such as transport, housing and human rights.
  • We will continue to integrate our national action on post-diagnostic support, integrated home care and other areas with these and other programmes. We will learn further from these and other projects and charities and engage with and strengthen communities and partners to sustain appropriate citizen-led ways to support people live safely, with dignity and as independent citizens, such as befriending and buddying.
  • In doing so we will strengthen national and local linkages on the Scottish Government's Social Isolation and Loneliness Strategy and our work on third sector engagement.

Isolation and Loneliness

  • We know COVID-19 has caused real issues of isolation and loneliness, but in truth for many people in Scotland it has only exacerbated their situation. The Scottish Government believes that social isolation and loneliness is a public health matter with the ability to lead to serious health complications and that tackling these issues is a critical part of sustaining resilient communities. For older people living with dementia who rely on friends and family, the restrictions that have been imposed have totally changed and sometimes stopped, visiting. We know that this has hurt those living with dementia, as well as their friends and family.
  • Our initial response to the pandemic provided support for at risk communities through our £350 million Communities funding package, but on 30 November 2020 the First Minister announced a further £100 million package of funding for a Winter Plan for Social Protection. £5.91 million will promote equality and tackle social isolation and loneliness support on the ground. Included within that, £4.3 million will tackle social isolation and loneliness through digital inclusion.
  • This funding will enhance support offered through key helplines, including for older people and victims of domestic abuse, ensuring that vulnerable people are able to access the support they need including those experiencing isolation.
  • Third sector organisations that are tackling social isolation and loneliness across communities will be supported by £967,000. And our National Helpline, connected to all Local Authorities, remains in place to support people and provide advice when they need it. Across Scotland, formal and informal volunteering will play a vital role this winter in supporting people and communities and this funding will go to support some of that collective effort.

Commitment 11: Working with local health and social care partnerships and the third sector, community groups and businesses we will support and enhance local dementia-enabled communities and reduce social isolation and loneliness, as part of our shared action to strengthen and recover resilience in our communities.



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