It would be fair – and perhaps rather unsurprising - to say that 2020 is shaping up to be a very different year for Alzheimer Scotland, presenting challenges that have never been encountered before during our 40-year history.

With our Dementia Resource Centre doors closed and community activities suspended, we have had to adapt how we work as a charity, introducing virtual support services to ensure we are still reaching those who need us. We are also taking the time to reflect and recognise the profound impact that coronavirus has had on many people with dementia and their carers.

Social isolation, loss of support networks and disrupted routines have been a huge challenge for those living with dementia during lockdown. Calls to our 24-hour freephone helpline have increased by over 30% since March and we continue to work hard to meet this demand. We already know the real difference we are making across Scotland from the feedback and stories families have shared:

“You just don’t realise how much you need something until it’s taken away from you. I really value Alzheimer Scotland keeping in touch and appreciate all you do. It’s great to hear your voice and lovely just to speak to someone”

“I never knew how important the dementia café was until it stopped. It is just great to see my friends again and I feel proud of myself for getting online and joining the virtual Dementia Cafe. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to again.”

“Thank you for keeping in touch, I now feel that there is someone there and I have not been abandoned.”

More than ever, it’s vital that people with dementia feel connected, informed and part of our community – and we strive to support them and ensure that no one is alone.

Our Chief Executive, Henry Simmons recently wrote an open letter to the Sunday Post, which highlights the human cost of coronavirus on our community and the agony of families who have been kept apart from their loved ones, unable to spend quality time together. Quite simply, the people we support have never needed us more.

Fortunately, there is much that can be done to help Alzheimer Scotland share this message:

  • Shout it out – Use your social media platform to share our messaging, signpost people to our 24 hour helpline (0808 808 3000) or highlight our suite of online coronavirus resources. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on LinkedIn … and let’s make a noise!
  • Do it for Dementia - Coronavirus is seriously disrupting our ability to raise funds. We know not everyone will be in a position to donate or take part in a virtual event, but if you can, we would be so grateful.
  • Lend a hand – Commit to supporting Alzheimer Scotland as a volunteer. Please get in touch directly and we can let you know what opportunities there are in your area.

Lastly, we would like to thank Brodies for choosing Alzheimer Scotland as its charity partner, and we look forward to working with the firm over the next three years. Working together, our partnership aims to make a big difference and effect real change for those living with dementia across Scotland.

Some of the lawyers who specialise in personal law have already helped to raise awareness of the key issues that individuals and families affected by dementia should be aware of, and how the law can help. Their posts on wills, powers of attorney, living wills and a guest post by ex-public guardian Sandra MacDonald on the value of a Statement of Wishes and Feelings are all still available to read.


Claire du Preez

Partnerships Manager. Alzheimer Scotland