Coronavirus: How to get Help

Find coronavirus help in your local area from the UK Government.

The Brain Charity can also help anyone with a neurological condition, their family and carers at this time.

If you need help, please get in touch: Email The Brain Charity or call us free on 0800 008 6417 (Monday-Friday: 9am-4.30pm)

Music-based therapy for people living with dementia

Music can play a vital role in the daily care for people living with dementia - it stirs memories, reduces agitation and creates moments of joyful connection - but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to start! Our series takes participants through useful exercises, practical tips and lively songs to get engaged and activated! Half of the series is made up of Singing workshops, with a focus on Speech & Language Therapy, and the other half is Dance workshops coupled with Physiotherapy

If you sign up to take part in the sessions, you will receive one email per week containing a specialist exercise video and guidance on how to join in safely. And we can accompany you on this journey - during the 12 weeks, you will also have the opportunity to have a consultation with our Speech & Language therapist or Physiotherapist, to speak about any specific issues you, or the person you care for, might be facing.

To sign up to receive this email package, please fill out the form below, and we will be in touch.

Dementia workshops web

If you would like to receive general updates about the work The Brain Charity does, tick: ‘’. 

Sign up to Music Makes Us!

Register now to receive our 12-week dementia video programme.

You can choose to receive full weekly emails for carers or a simplified dementia-friendly version to go straight to the participant. Please note: the simplified version does not mention the condition dementia. If you would like this, tick yes to 'receive non-dementia version' below.

Please tick the box below if you would also like to receive general news and updates from The Brain Charity as well.

We will never cold call you or sell your data. Click here to read our full privacy policy.

 

If you live in the North West of The UK, and would like more information about the workshops when we launch them again in community settings, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Getting you back into work: our Directions & New Horizons projects

Unemployment and neurological conditions

Becoming unemployed after being diagnosed with a neurological condition can have a huge impact on self-esteem. Many clients tell us being unable to work makes them feel like they have nothing to contribute to society. 

This isn't true - and help is out there.

The Brain Charity can assist you with taking the first steps towards new opportunities by putting you on the pathway to further education, training and new employment. 

What are the Directions and New Horizons projects?

While you may feel discrimination or a lack of skills, experience or opportunities may be holding you back from getting a job, we find low confidence is the major barrier people with neurological conditions face when re-entering the workplace.

To combat this, we have launched two innovative projects within our employment service; Directions and New Horizons. 

Both Directions and New Horizons were created to support thousands of unemployed people in the Liverpool City Region who have barriers to getting into work.

They aim to build confidence, develop skills and explore pathways back into employment. Both are part-funded by the European Social Fund. 

How will this help you?

Through Directions and New Horizons, we will give you back the confidence you need to come to terms with your change in employment situation, and forge a new path.

By using a motivational person-centred approach, our specialist advisers hope to be the springboard from which you can achieve the goals we know you are capable of. You will be able to set your own pace without any pressure.

We can improve your confidence and self-esteem by linking you to a variety of different types of practical and emotional support. 

Provided through The Brain Charity's Directions & New Horizons projects and employment service: 

  • Flexible individual support and personal mentoring to help you access volunteering, work experience or employment opportunities in a suitable working environment for you. 
  • Private one-to-one and group confidence coaching to improve self-esteem and reduce lack of self-belief. 
  • Pathways to training and education if you want to retrain in a new type of work.
  • Access to adult education courses in subjects like literacy and maths.
  • Practical support with job searching and applications, CVs and interview techniques. 
  • Help with business plans, marketing strategies and publicity for clients who would like to become self-employed. 

Provided through The Brain Charity’s other services:

  • Free, in-house one-to-one counselling to address any specific emotional or psychological barriers to work you might have, such as anxiety or PTSD. 
  • Advice on rights, reasonable adjustments, health expectations, pain management needs and fatigue issues in the workplace for when you are ready to return to work. 
  • Benefits advice, financial education, and advocacy for people balancing employment with a caring role
  • Practical advice in other areas which may make finding work easier for you, such as housing, aids and adaptations, and managing your condition. 

Who is eligible for the Directions and New Horizons projects?

To be eligible to take part, you must:

  • Be living in the Liverpool City Region (Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral or Halton)
  • Currently receiving a form of unemployment benefit
  • Aged 18 to 65
  • Have evidence of your economic status
  • Have evidence of your right to live and work in the UK, e.g. a current passport, birth certificate, national insurance number, residency permit or marriage certificate

Want to take part?

To sign up, please enter your details below. One of our specialist advisers will then be in touch to discuss your individual requirements, and whether you are a better fit for the Directions or the New Horizons project. 

Alternatively, call our free helpline on 0800 008 6417 to find out more.

If you would also like to receive general news and updates about The Brain Charity, please tick the box below.

More information

The Directions and New Horizons Projects are being run by a partnership of different Merseyside organisations, including The Brain Charity, which are overseen by The Women's Organisation.

Both projects have been part-funded by the European Social Fund, which was established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate economic development, as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. 

For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

European Social Fund logosm

Coughs and sneezes spread FLU and diseases: Trap the germs in your handkerchief.Use your brain. We should all follow the guidelines for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Everyone should stay at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus

Wash your hands as soon as you get back home: wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

 

Hand hygiene video, Barts Health NHS Trust

Why you should practice social distancing to stop coronavirus (The Telegraph)

NHS nurses sing Corona Covid 19 song

How to draw a rainbow / painting (Dad draws)

> more brain resources

Image: top left The use of handkerchiefs to prevent against flu and other diseases. Lithograph, ca. 1950. Credit: Wellcome Collection.
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions 

Stay at home

As the media becomes dominated by Coronavirus, and we’re told to isolate and avoid contact, it can be difficult not to become anxious. This is particularly true for those of us with friends or family in high risk groups, such as dementia. As dementia is largely a disease of later life, and high-risk people over 70 have been told to isolate at home, we ought to bear in mind the effects of the pandemic on those of us living with dementia and those of us providing care.

Watching for symptoms of infection in people with dementia

When a person has dementia, it can be difficult to express verbally. An individual with full cognitive function might describe themselves as feeling unwell if they have infection. Dementia can make it difficult for a person to articulate discomfort, or even to distinguish a change between feeling well and unwell. If we suspect that the person we’re caring for has contracted Coronavirus, we should look for the following symptoms provided as guidelines by the NHS:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste

In addition, if you spot more drastic changes in demeanour and behaviour in a person with dementia, it is important to advocate for them quickly. Explain to medical professionals what the person's recent normal behaviour is, and how it has changed. This includes changes to mood, and cognitive functioning. It is useful have notes on history of medical conditions, (frequent urinary tract infections, for example) then describe any suspicious changes from the norm to the physician.

When people living with dementia get infections, signs of discomfort to look out for include:

  • Not wanting to be touched
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased confusion
  • Making unusual sounds – calling or crying
  • Tense facial expressions and grimaces
  • Unusual changes in body language – violent actions, pulling away, tight fists

In the event of any of these changes, can the person be consoled, calmed or distracted? If the behaviour is persistent, this can be a sign of infection. Newly developed challenging behaviours that can be a sign of pain include:

  • Cursing
  • Combativeness
  • Apathy and withdrawal from activities and interactions
  • Becoming more high maintenance, seemingly more difficult to please
  • Wandering
  • Restlessness
  • Repeating behaviours or words

If you are in doubt as to how the person you’re caring for is feeling, you might also wish to try a visual aid, such as the face scale. This can be used to help you identify how someone is feeling. If possible, get the person to point or indicate one of the faces on the scale to show which best represents their feeling of pain.

Tips for explaining the lockdown to someone with dementia

Dementia can cause confusion and loneliness at the best of times, and such drastic shifts in routine may exacerbate these feelings. If possible, try to keep a structure to your day, with stable meal times and food which the person enjoys.

It is undoubtedly hard to explain to the person you are with, why they can’t go outside or to the day care centre. While each person will experience this lockdown differently, it is distressing for everyone to be stuck indoors if they would like to go outside. Here are some tips on approaching the lockdown guidelines to explain them to the person living with dementia:

  • Try to remain calm and pleasant, even if you have repeated the same information multiple times.
  • The way that the information is delivered often has a bearing on how it is received. For many people with dementia, the words themselves are not understandable, so the way you say it will make a difference.
  • If appropriate, try to use physical touch when explaining. Place a hand on their arm, or around their waist.
  • Check to see if they are listening. If they are not able to process the information right at this moment, try again in a little while.
  • Make sure there is no background noise and as few distractions as possible when you are trying to get their attention.
  • Try to use body language to explain things. If the person is having trouble understanding words, you can point, signal, or demonstrate.

Here are some questions and tips collected by speaking to some of our service users, and by Linda Lawson of the Alzheimer’s Society:

"My husband doesn’t understand the lock down, and when I explain to him, he doesn’t remember. What can I do?"

  • Order newspapers to read with breakfast everyday so that he is aware of the current situation daily.
  • Suggest to the person that ‘today we’ll have a stay at home day’ and plan activities accordingly. This could be repeated each day of isolation.
  • I wrote down one sentence at a time about the virus and mum read it back to me with some reactions actually as she read it out loud. The end result of several sentences in a bright colorful pen - I have put by her table mat where she sits for breakfast, lunch and tea so that perhaps she might read it for a few days and I can read back to her every few days.

"My mum wants to get out and about as usual, and when she looks out of the window, she sees young mums with children. How can I help her to remember that we can’t go outside?"

  • I explain to mum why this by saying (as true to the fact as I can) children have to go out for exercise at least once a day so they don’t get ill, they can only be out for half an hour max and only once. We have even sat together to see if we can spot anyone twice!! (she is sort of a neighbourhood watch at the moment!)
  • Put a sign on the front door stating ‘Danger, do not go out’ and even add some information about the virus.
  • Take photos of shops, pubs, cafes etc. that are closed and are the usual places a person may visit to show them what the situation is.
  • If the situation is distressing, try to distract with an ’important job’ which needs to be done – for example – drying up, weeding, etc.

"I’m worried that social isolation will cause mum’s condition to worsen, as she isn’t in contact with people on a daily basis. What can I do?"

  • We have a similar issue with my mum who has very recently gone into respite care. We have been sending cards or letters regularly explaining why we aren’t visiting. I try to include past memories about people or situations she will still remember e.g. “Do you remember how elegant grandma R was with all those amazing hats?” or “I bumped into S who worked with you in the police... he says hi.”
  • If possible, organise regular facetimes or phone calls with friends and family members. Print out photos of loved ones and place them around the house as prompts to start conversation with.
  • Try to engage the person with activities if possible. If you would like some tips, here are some compiled by the Baring Foundation.
  • You are also welcome to join in The Brain Charity’s online activities, which will appear in our calendar here as they become available.

We can help

Finally, please be kind to yourself if you are struggling with this highly unusual circumstance. It can be tough to cope with the effects of dementia at the best of times, and extra stress does not help. The Brain Charity can assist you during this time – please reach out to us and we can offer a range of delivery or remote services, including distance social activities and counselling.

To enquire about our music-based therapy workshops for people with living with dementia, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the moment, these workshops run online - please click here for details of how to join. 

See Also:

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Supported by B.B.C. Children in Need. Registered charity. Thanks to generous funding from BBC Children in Need, The Brain Charity has launched The Brain Changer Arts Project - free workshops that harness the power of the arts to help hundreds of young people with neurological conditions.

The fun, innovative and rewarding sessions, which are currently running as online video classes, provide Physiotherapy through Dance and Occupational Therapy through Art and Craft.

These activities stimulate multiple parts of the brain - dancing improves motor control and balance, can reduce stress and increases serotonin levels while crafting activities assist with dexterity, hand-eye coordination and memory.

The fun workshops are open to children of any age, from any part of the UK and with any neurological condition, as well as their parents and carers.

Physiotherapy through Dance Occupational therapy through Art and Craft

To find out more or suggest a child who might benefit from The Brain Changer Arts Project, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

If you would like to also receive general updates about the work The Brain Charity does, please tick the box below.