As we collectively face the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19), one thing holds true – supporting the health and well-being of our local community is our highest priority. Below you will find some helpful information we have compiled about COVID-19 and dementia.
As we continue to experience and adapt to day to day changes, consider offering a helping hand to those who may be experiencing increased isolation as a result of current circumstances. Simple gestures such as a phone call or an offer to pick up some groceries can make a real difference to someone who lives alone or is unable to leave their home.
COVID-19: Reliable Resources and Information
Visit the following reliable sources for up to date information:
COVID-19 and Dementia
Most likely, dementia does not increase risk for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, just like dementia does not increase risk for flu.
However, increased age and common health conditions that often accompany dementia may increase risk. For example, people with dementia may forget to wash their hands or take other recommended precautions to prevent illness. In addition, respiratory illnesses like flu and COVID-19, may worsen some of the symptoms of dementia. However, increased age and common health conditions that often accompany dementia may increase risk. For example, people with dementia may forget to wash their hands or take other recommended precautions to prevent illness. In addition, respiratory illnesses like flu and COVID-19, may worsen some of the symptoms of dementia.
For people living with dementia, increased confusion is often the first symptom of any illness. If a person living with dementia shows rapidly increased confusion, contact your health care provider for advice.
Click here for the Alzheimer Society blog: COVID-19 tips for people with dementia, caregivers and families.
Handwashing for People with Dementia
In practicing hand hygiene, consider helping the person with dementia using the following tips:
- Provide clear instructions about how to wash hands and cover coughs using:
- the language most commonly used by the person with dementia
- short messages that explain simple steps they can take
- large font and graphics/pictures
- accessible instructions (e.g., braille, pictures)
- visual signs in common areas near sinks, in the kitchen, in bathrooms or laundry rooms – this will serve as a constant reminder for both the person with dementia and the
caregiver to wash their hands
- Demonstrate thorough hand‐washing or hand‐wash at the same time
- Alcohol‐based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be a quick alternative to hand‐washing if the person with dementia cannot get to a sink or wash his/her hands easily.
Click here for a helpful video about hand washing tips for dementia care partners.
Look after Yourself
- If watching, reading or listening to the news is causing anxiety and distress, reduce your exposure and seek updates from trusted sources once or twice a day.
- The Manitoba government is providing regular COVID-19 updates, click here to find out the latest.
- Find opportunities to share positive or funny stories and acknowledge those in your circle.
- Exercise regularly, keep a regular sleep routine and eat healthy food.
If you or someone you care for needs support or someone to listen, please reach out:
Alzheimer Society of Manitoba
This can be a difficult and isolating time for people. Keep in mind that you are not alone. We are open, call us if you have any questions or want to talk. Call 204-943-6622 (Winnipeg) or 1-800-378-6699 (Manitoba) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Province-Wide Crisis Lines
Klinic Crisis Line 204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019; TTY 204-784-4097
Manitoba Suicide Line “Reason to Live” 1-877-435-7170 (1-877-HELP170)
Kids Help Phone (national line available to Manitoba Youth) 1-800-668-6868
Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line 204-786-8631 or 1-888-292-7565; TTY 204-784-4097
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 1‑855‑242-3310
Counselling available in English and French – upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktut
Mental health resources across the regions
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority including Churchill
Crisis Response Centre – 817 Bannatyne, Winnipeg; attend in person
Adult Mobile Crisis Service – 204-940-1781
Crisis Stabilization Unit – 204-940-3633
Youth Mobile Crisis Team – 204-949-4777
NON-CRISIS and INTAKE
Adult Community Mental Health Intake (new applications) – 204-788-8330
Child & Youth Community Central Mental Health Intake – 204-958-9660
Seneca Mental Health Warm Line (7 pm – 11 pm daily)
For Seneca intake, see: www.sararielinc.com; 204-942-9276
Churchill Hospital General Ward – 204-675-8322
Churchill Health Centre – 204-675-8881
Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority
24 hour Crisis Line: 204-482-5419 or 1-866-427-8628
Mobile Crisis Services: 204-482-5376 or 1-877-499-8770
Adult 2:00 pm – 2:00 am
Youth 17 and under 1:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Crisis Stabilization Unit: 204-482-5361 or 1-888-482-5361
Community Mental Health Intake: 204-785-7752 or 1-866-757-6205
Northern Health Region
Thompson Youth (17 and under) Mobile Crisis Team: 204-778-1472 or toll-free 1-866-242-1571
Mobile Team hours 12:00 noon – 12:00 midnight, 7 days/week
Hope North Crisis Response 204-778-9977, Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30
Thompson General Hospital – 204-677-2381
Thompson Community Mental Health Intake – 204-677-5358 (Hours: M-F 8:30 am -4:30 pm)
Flin Flon Community Mental Health Intake – 204-687-1350 (Hours: M-F 8:30 am – 4:30 pm)
Flin Flon General Hospital after hours – 204-687-7591 (4:30 pm – 8:30 am, weekends)
The Pas Community Mental Health Intake – 204-623-9650 (Hours: M-F 8:30 – 4:30pm)
The Pas Health Complex after hours – 204-623-6431 (4:30pm – 8:30am, weekends)
Prairie Mountain Health
Crisis – South District (formerly Brandon, Assiniboine)
Adult crisis line, 24/7: 1-888-379-7699
Youth Under 18 crisis line 24/7: 1-866-403-5459
Crisis Stabilization Unit: 1-855-222-6011 or 204-727-2555
Mobile Crisis Services: 204-725-4411
Crisis – North District (former Parkland)
Adult and Youth Crisis Line, (24/7): 1-866-332-3030
Non-Crisis – South
Adult Community Mental Health Intake
1-855-222-6011 (M-F 8:30-4:30)
Youth (17 and under) Community Mental Health Intake, SEE:
Non-Crisis – North
Mental Health Intake (all ages):
Ste. Rose du Lac: 204-447-4080
Swan River: 204-734-6601
Southern Health-Santé Sud
Mental Health: southernhealth.ca/en/finding-care/
Southern Health-Santé Sud Web: southernhealth.ca
Eating Disorders/Disordered Eating
For information on Eating Disorders/Disordered Eating treatment in hospital and community, see:
eatingdisordersmanitoba.ca, or contact:
Women’s Health Clinic – Provincial Eating Disorder Prevention & Recovery Program
Phone: 204-947-2422, ext. 137 in Winnipeg
Phone: 866-947-1517, ext. 137 toll-free
Address: 419 Graham Avenue, Winnipeg, MB
Health Sciences Centre – Adult Eating Disorders Service Program – 204-787-3482
Health Sciences Centre – Child & Adolescent Eating Disorders Service Program – 204-958-9660
Provincially-funded Community Mental Health Agencies
Some organizations have satellite offices in communities outside of Winnipeg, supported by their regional health authorities. Please see their websites for more information.
Artbeat Studio – 204-943-5194 artbeatstudio.ca
Anxiety Disorders Association Manitoba – 204-925-0600 or 1-800-805-8885 www.adam.mb.ca
Canadian Mental Health Association Manitoba & Winnipeg – 204-982-6100 mbwpg.cmha.ca/
Canadian Mental Health Association Manitoba Central (Portage) – 204-239-6590 central.cmha.ca/
Canadian Mental Health Association Parkland (Swan River) – 204-734-2734
Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba – 204-786-0987 or 1-800-263-1460 www.mooddisordersmanitoba.ca
MDAM Post-Partum Warm Line – 204-391-5983
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Centre of Manitoba (OCDC Mb) – 204-942-3331
Mental Health Education Resource Centre (MHERC) – 204-942-6568 or 1-855-942-6568
Managing Stress during COVID-19 https://manitoba.ca/covid19/prepareandprevent/managingstress.htmlOther mental health resources:
- Government of Canada
The Government of Canada has online resources on COVID-19 and Mental Health @ Work you can access online.
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Mental Health and Pyschosocial considerations during COVID-19 outbreak from the WHO.
Supporting Children and Teens
Helping Youth to Cope https://manitoba.ca/covid19/prepareandprevent/managingstress.html
Helping Children and Teens Cope with Anxiety about COVID-19 https://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/helping-children-and-teens-cope-with-anxiety-covid-19/
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor about filling prescriptions for a greater or maximum number of days to reduce trips to the pharmacy.
- Explore phone or video call consultations with your doctor and other health practitioners.
- Keep a few weeks’ worth of essential supplies such as food, hygiene and health products.
- Make alternative plans for care management if the primary caregiver should become sick.
- Share your plan with your family, friends and neighbours. Set up a buddy system to check in on each other by phone, email or text during times of need.
- Plan for a variety of activities that will help keep the person engaged if they need to stay indoors. Keep in touch with family and friends by phone, video call or social media.
- Prepare an emergency bag each for the person with dementia and the caregiver with a set of clothes, list of medications and emergency contact info.
- If there’s a need to leave the home, seek help from family and friends for assistance or consider using volunteer drivers and subsidized taxi fares instead of public transportation.
- Expand your circle of support and ask trusted members of your family or friends if they can step in to help if needed.
- Document the types of care you provide i.e. medication, meals etc. so someone can easily reference and provide the care needed.
- Keep a list of all doctors and other healthcare providers in one place.
- Ensure any medical records or other documentation is easily accessible so members of your circle know where to find them.
By making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other, social distancing is an effective way to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak.
This means making changes in your everyday routines to minimize close contact with others, including:
- avoiding non-essential gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- avoiding crowded places such as concerts, arenas, conferences and festivals
- limiting contact with people at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms-length (approximately 2 metres) from others
Click here to read a great article titled, Social Distancing YES, Social Isolation NO by the Ontario Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Initiative.
During these unsettling times, it’s important to stay active and engaged. One of the ways to keep our minds engaged is to learn something new. Well this is a time like no other to learn how to adapt our way of life and our activities of life to a home base. Here are a few ways we can keep active with our minds and our bodies while we stay safe at home;
- Breathe: Breathing with intention helps us to relax both our minds and our bodies. Start by sitting tall in a comfortable chair – breathe in for a count of four, hold for two counts, breathe out for a count of six, hold for two counts. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Move your body: Another great way to release stress and anxiety is moving our bodies. Start by setting aside a specific time each day for walking.
- Laps around the house: Start in your kitchen and place 5 spoons on the kitchen table. Start your walk in the kitchen, then head to the living room, through a hallway or another room and head back to the kitchen. Pick up a spoon from the 5 you place out on the table and continue repeated your lap route until you have picked up all 5 spoons.
- Walking outside: Take a short walk to the mailbox, to wave at your neighbours, or walk your dog. Stay on dry walking paths and use walking sticks if you have used them before.
- Schedule daily social time: Stay connected with family and friends by setting a specific time during the day. Let’s say 10:00 am “It’s time to call Fred and see how he is doing. Let’s pour a cup of coffee and give him a call”. Scheduling helps us keep routines and organizes our day. If available scheduled video calls with grandchildren can really help bring a smile to your face.
- Replace and modify: If you were in a community program that is no longer available think of ways to replace it at the same time and day of the week it was running. Replace it with a similar activity, art, history, music. Let the person with dementia know that we are doing things a bit differently now from home.
- Apps and brain teasers: And of course if you are lucky to have access to the internet you will be able to find lots of things on the World Wide Web. Watch for some activities that we will provide to help you get started.
Activities help us to live in the moment and distract us from things we can’t control. Staying active keeps our minds and our bodies engaged. Have some fun with it! Who knows you may learn something new! Stay active and healthy!
Click here to see tips and exercise videos from Kathy Diehl Cyr, Community Partnership Manager, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
Click here for more tips and resources on staying active.
Keep in touch with families and friends using different means of communication:
- Landline phone
- Smartphones and tablets make it easy to send and receive pictures and videos
- Video chatting can allow you to communicate in groups and share daily activities (facetime, skype, zoom)
Consider scheduling regular chats and online social gatherings with a variety of people.
If your care recipient has a personal computer and requires assistance from you to get started, consider exploring remote desktop software such as https://remotedesktop.google.com/ or Microsoft remote Desktop.
If you are caring for someone in a long-term or other healthcare facility, check to see what technology they have available to allow you to stay in touch.
McMaster Optimal Aging Portal – Staying connected while practicing social and physical distancing
Pay attention to flu or pneumonia-like symptoms in yourself and others and report them to a medical professional immediately.
Tips to keep yourself and the person you’re caring for healthy include:
- Practice proper handwashing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick; work from home.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Throw the tissue in the trash then wash your hands afterwards
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as remote controls and door handles, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow current social distancing guidelines.
- in motion older adult exercise
In motion has a 45 minute Older Adult Exercise video available on the Winnipeg in motion YouTube channel(click on videos tab)
- Active Aging Canada
Active Aging Canada have text and video resources related to physical activity for older adults. Visit their Web site.
- U of M Recreation Services: Home workout series
The U of M Recreation Services is kicking off their home workouts series. Visit their YouTube channel to participate at home. More videos will be posted over the next few weeks.