Leroy Skalstad – Pixabay

Elders around the world have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. For those living with dementia and their families, the new rules and restrictions have made things even more difficult.

Dementia Australia has launched a new campaign urging Australians to keep the world open for people living with dementia, not just during the pandemic, but every day.

The recent period of self-isolation has given many of us a glimpse of what life is like for people isolated by dementia. Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe says it’s an experience we can all learn from.

‘Often, people stop talking to those living with dementia, staying in touch or inviting them to events. People living with dementia are often socially isolated all day, every day. That’s not dementia, that’s discrimination,’ she said.

‘Imagine if you were isolated every day? That’s why we are running this campaign now while people are more aware of what this experience feels like.’

Isolation is a problem for many elderly people – photo David Lowe

Dementia Advocates have shared some of their experiences with Dementia Australia, which you can hear on Soundcloud.

Here are a few quotes:

  • ‘Our own self-perception becomes damaged and we feel constantly in the wrong.’
  • ‘It stops you wanting to engage. It is devaluing.’
  • ‘Everyone wants to make decisions for me.’
  • ‘I stopped going out because people aren’t going to listen anyway or understand what I am trying to say.’
  • ‘You are constantly second guessing. Is it me? Is it my husband? When you hear about social events, you think I would have liked to go to that.’

The Keep the World Open campaign is going to continue for the next few months.

As part of the campaign, Dementia Australia is asking all Australians to find out what they can do to help by visiting www.keeptheworldopen.com.au.