'The isolation is incomprehensible': Families fear another lonely Christmas for those with dementia

Families across Wales fear this Christmas will be the same as the last after those with dementia spent the festive day alone. Credit: PA

Welsh residents are still feeling the aftermath of a ‘lost Christmas’ after one sixth of people with dementia spent last year alone.

Alzheimer’s Society Cymru has launched a Christmas Appeal to help one of the worst affected groups by coronavirus.

It comes after research by the charity found 16% of people with dementia spent Christmas Day alone leaving a number of families (17%) with feelings of guilt and anger over a 'lost Christmas'.

The Alzheimer’s Society Cymru announced the new findings and has called on the public in Wales to donate what they can this Christmas.

The funds raised will help the charity reach around 50,000 people living with dementia across the country through its desperately needed services.

Kevin Jones whose wife Jean has dementia and lives in a care home explained: “This Christmas, like last year l will be alone, the loneliness and isolation is incomprehensible.

“I am lucky in one respect, as l am now allowed to be with the woman I love (by prior appointment and with a negative lateral flow test) for 20 minutes a week. Even though Jean no longer recognises me, it doesn’t matter, my short visits to her care home, are all I have to keep me going.”

“Without the help and support of the Alzheimer's Society Cymru, I cannot imagine where I would be, they are still my lifeline today, as they were 20 months ago, and I am truly thankful for their ongoing help and support.”

A third of families were only able to spend 15-minutes per week with their relatives last year. Credit: PA

A number of family carers (66%) are already feeling anxious about Christmas this year with many having to cope with increased caring responsibilities.

The need for support services doubled during the last festive period with the demand continuing after Christmas too, according to Alzheimer’s Society Cymru.

Cheryl James, Alzheimer’s Society Cymru Area Manager, said: “For many this festive season, the magic of Christmas will be marred by families having to cope with an unmanageable and irreversible decline in their loved ones.

"As families and friends in Wales look to go bigger and better this year to compensate for a Christmas in lockdown, people with dementia need us like never before."

Alzheimer’s Society Cymru’s Christmas Appeal will help increase capacity to its support services, including the Dementia Connect support line, for anyone desperate for somewhere to turn to this festive season.