Resources and information about Covid19 for people with dementia, their families and carers

Here are some useful resources about Covid19 for people who have dementia, their families and carers.

First is a collection of online resources:

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/a-collection-of-online-resources-for-people-with-dementia-families-and-carers.pdf

And here are some at-home activities for people with dementia

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/at-home-activities-for-people-with-dementia-families-and-carers.pdf

Supporting people with additional needs during Covid19 closures

Here is a great resource offering tips and advice on how to support someone with additional needs during this Covid19 pandemic

http://www.cheeverstown.ie/wp-content/uploads/Supporting-people-with-additional-needs-during-Covid-19-closures-Final-2.pdf

As well as practical ideas about daily routines there are relaxation exercises, easy read information sheets about Corona Virus and much more.

Click to access Supporting-people-with-additional-needs-during-Covid-19-closures-Final-2.pdf

Online Family Support Group tonight with LYFS

LYFS, the Letterkenny Youth and Family Support Service is running an online support group for families. The next meeting happens TONIGHT Monday 20 April at 8:30pm. You can find the link below to get into the meeting. It is recommended that you just use your audio and not your video for these meetings.
Families are all facing many challenge these days but are managing to find positives in the experience of lockdown too. These include
  • Family Meals- All preparing and eating together
  • More interaction between family members including teenagers
  • Having time to reflect on what is important in life (for parents)
  • Getting to know children better- their interests, friends and hobbies
  • Happy to be at home with children
  • Less stress (No rushing around, less pressure externally to get things done)
  • Having more energy to enjoy time spent with children
  • Teaching children new life skills- cooking, cleaning, tying shoes etc.
  • Being thankful and grateful for having family
  • Opportunity to explain to siblings about additional needs within family
But of course there are the challenges and these can include:
  • Keeping routines- waking up and going to bed
  • Monitoring social media/screen time- children need to connect with their friends but not at 3am!
  • Co-parenting- Social Distancing and Cocooning
  • Education- Home schooling and those getting ready for Leaving Cert.
  • Parenting alone and shopping- lack of support network
The positives and the challenges are so familiar to many of us. If you could do with the support of a group and the opportunity to talk to other parents then why not get involved tonight?
Next meeting-
Monday 20th April (tonight)@ 8.30pm via Zoom
Meeting ID: 832 862 344​
Password: 022222​
LYFS can be contacted on 0861237917 / lyfs@live.ie. / facebook-Lyfscommunity project (Private Message)for anyone who requires support to join the group, or for any parenting support needs.

Health & Wellbeing Information Pack – Coping with COVID-19 Isolation Collated By Donegal Local Development CLG – April 2020

DLDC – Donegal Local Development Company – have pulled lots of useful information and links together in this handy booklet available to download here DLDC Health Wellbeing Information Pack April 2020

At the moment we are all stuck at home self-isolating or in confinement, many of us are away from our families and definitely away from our friends which can be particularly hard mentally. Children are home from school and they also need activities to help them cope with what must be a very bewildering time for them.
To get us through this stressful, boring and worrying time a wide range of agencies and individuals have put together some excellent videos covering cookery, food & nutrition advice, exercise programmes for all ages mental wellbeing and general advice on how to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DLDC has put together this pack to try and help you navigate through some of these wonderful resources.
Areas covered in the booklet include
1. Mental Wellbeing
1.1 Parents/ Families
1.2 Women
1.3 General
2. Exercise & Fitness
2.1 Children & Youth
2.2 General Age Groups
2.3 Older People
3. Cookery & Nutrition
3.1 Kids
3.2 General Age Groups
4. General Information
4.1 Training
4.2 Supports
4.3 Farming
4.4 DLDC Support Team
4.5 Donegal County Council Helpline

Just click on the link to access the booklet which has all the information and live links DLDC Health Wellbeing Information Pack April 2020

 

 

Child abuse: recognise and report


Social isolation due to COVID19 makes it harder for authorities to identify child abuse cases. That is why it’s important for essential workers with potential access to family homes to be able to recognise signs of abuse and know where to report their concerns.

If you have concerns, take action and report your concerns to Tusla. We all have a role to play in protecting children.

Types of Abuse:

Neglect Lack of care or supervision Child deprived of food, clothing, hygiene, safety, mental stimulation, etc.

Physical Child is deliberately physically hurt or is at risk of being physically hurt e.g.: Shaking child, using excessive force

Emotional Child’s need for affection, approval, security are not met e.g. excessive punishment, exposure to domestic violence

Sexual Child is used for someone else’s sexual gratification/arousal

Possible signs of abuse

Neglect

  • Child says no one is at home to provide care Is being cared for by an inappropriate adult
  • Is often dirty/has severe body odour
  • Lacks enough/appropriate clothing for weather
  • Lacks medical or dental care
  • Lacks enough food/water
  • Begs or steals food/money
  • Abuses alcohol/drugs

Physical

  • Child has unexplained injuries (burns, bites, bruises, black eyes, broken bones)
  • Reports injury by parent/caregiver
  • Is scared of parents/caregivers
  • Shrinks when approached by adults
  • Is scared/anxious, depressed, withdrawn, aggressive
  • Abuses animals/pets

Emotional

  • Child shows extreme behaviours (is too passive/aggressive or too submissive/demanding)
  • Acts too old or too young for their age (e.g. is parenting other children or often rocking/banging head)
  • Expresses depressive/suicidal thoughts

Sexual

  • Child has difficulty walking/sitting
  • Has bleeding, bruising, swelling around private parts
  • Attaches very quickly to strangers/new adults
  • Shows unusual, sophisticated sexual knowledge or behaviour
  • Reports nightmares/bedwetting
  • Observes/shares sexual images online
  • Parent/caregiver observes/shares sexual images online in presence of children

WHEN to report:

You should report abuse when:

  • You witness an incident/sign (outlined above) consistent with abuse
  • A child says or indicates in some other way that they’ve been abused
  • An adult or child admits that they’ve committed abuse
  • Another person shares that they’ve witnessed or know about a child being abused

HOW to report:

  • You can report your concerns in person, by phone, or by email to the local Tusla Children and Family Services centre in the area where the child lives.
  • You can choose to keep your report anonymous.
  • You should contact Tusla even if you’re unsure about reporting; they will talk to you and decide what to do.
  • If a child is in immediate danger, contact the Gardaí at 112/999 or www.garda.ie

You are legally protected

The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 protects you when reporting suspected child abuse to Tusla or an Garda Síochána IF you believe your report is true and your report is not malicious.

If you have concerns and want to discuss them with a Tusla Social Worker click the link for contact details in Donegal https://www.tusla.ie/services/child-protection-welfare/contact-a-social-worker/donegal-social-work-duty-teams/

You can phone 074 9123672 to speak to a Duty Social Worker here in County Donegal

Here is the link to a poster with all the information provided above

Tusla Information Leaflet (FINAL) (1)

Young Children at home during the Covid19 outbreak: The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is not selfish or indulgent—it’s how we keep ourselves well to ensure we are physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of being there for our young children.

Parenting a young child is already stressful at times. That’s why it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too. When you feel calmer, it’s easier to be there for your children and meet their needs.

The Case for Self-Care During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Nearly all of us has heard the flight attendant tell us to put their own oxygen mask on before helping others. The same goes for parenting—your health and well-being is important so that you can nurture your child. Self-care is not selfish or indulgent—it’s how we keep ourselves well to ensure we are physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of being there for our young children.

The realities of COVID-19 make self-care even more important. The unknowns of what’s coming next can worry even the calmest of parents. If faced with long periods of uncertainty, other stressors may emerge—concern for family members, worries about lost income, keeping the fridge full of groceries, balancing job roles with child care, and more. But young children need their parents to offer a calm, stable, and predictable “home base” for them. It’s a challenge, but as a parent, the best way to help your child be at their best is to take care of yourself.

Pay Attention to How You Are Feeling

Take the time to notice your feelings and pause and reflect before responding to sources of stress.

  1. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
  2. Take a deep breath into your belly and feel your hand rise.
  3. Exhale slowly and gently through your lips, like you are blowing on hot soup.
  4. Repeat two to four times.
  5. Respond to the situation once you’ve calmed yourself.

Imagine Your Child’s Behaviour as a Communication

When young children experience a change in their routines, they may be confused or upset. But most children under three lack the words they need to share their feelings. They may “tell” you through their behaviour: by being fussy, by withdrawing, by going back to earlier behaviours like wanting their pacifier or waking frequently at night. It’s easy to become frustrated, since as adults, we’re already managing so much. But when you encounter a challenging behaviour, pause to think about what your child might be telling you. How could you respond in a way that meets their needs best? For example, if your child misses seeing their grandparent who provided child care before COVID-19, you can arrange for a video chat  https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/2535-five-tips-to-make-the-most-of-video-chatsor by explaining the separation. Check out this resource https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/3265-answering-your-young-child-s-questions-about-coronavirus  for questions your toddler might have and age-appropriate ways to respond.

Make Time for Self-Care

You and your child are probably used to having time apart—you at work or school, and your child at child care or with a family care provider. If you’re stuck at home due to coronavirus precautions, your family may be together 24 hours a day and it may feel impossible to get a break for yourself. If you co-parent, talk about how you can share care-giving time so that each of you have a little time alone. If you and your co- parent are balancing work-at-home with child care, collaborate on creating daily schedules that allow each of you to focus on key professional responsibilities while keeping children safe and occupied. Schedules (in terms of who does what, when) may need to change on a daily basis, so making time to plan before bed or during breakfast can set up you up for a successful day.

If you don’t have another adult in the home, take advantage of “quiet time.” Is your child still taking naps? Use that time for yourself. Is your child too old for naps? Try to arrange a quiet hour or two each afternoon when your child reads in bed or plays quietly. Stay nearby, but take care of yourself. If needed, use the time after your child goes to bed or before they wake up in the morning for self-care as well.

Taking Care of Yourself

What activities make you happy? Reduce your stress level? Leave you feeling calm and rejuvenated? It’s different for everybody. What’s important is finding self-care strategies that work for YOU—ones that bring you peace and are realistic to use.

Health precautions like social distancing and self-quarantine present a challenge for self-care, since at the moment it is not possible to go to the gym, exercise classes, book clubs, or sports events. Think about ways of adapting activities to formats that encourage social distancing:

  • Outdoor exercise: Exercising outdoors, if it’s safe and feasible, is a great solution. Walking, withing 2km radius of your home is a good option. This app can help you find what is within your 2km circle so that you can plan a good walk https://2kmfromhome.com/  Online videos and apps that provide instructor-led exercise, like yoga or group workouts, are also great resources.
  • Stay in touch with supports: Technology can take the edge off of feelings of  isolation. Can your book club meet over video chat? Can you “visit” grandparents the same way? Maybe you and a running partner can motivate one another with shareable playlists and text message support.
  • If you find yourself getting restless, dust off your “when I have time” list: Most of us keep a mental list of things we want to do “when we have time”—maybe it’s learning how to refinish furniture, training to run a 5K, or binge-watching a new series. Whatever it is for you, choose an item from that list and tackle it now.
  • Take time to relax: Sometimes, our minds and bodies just need a break. Meditation, mindfulness, and other replenishing activities (yoga, long baths, etc.) are a great way to let go of the pressures of the day.
  • Mindfulness: you might want to try a mindfulness exercise  https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/2268-mindfulness-for-parents

And where’s your toddler while all this is going on? Think about ways your child can join you in some of your activities. Buckle baby safely into a jog stroller. Put a towel down next to your yoga mat for a toddler partner. Lie on your backs next to each other and practice deep breathing. While you still need some “alone time,” there are ways to invite our little ones to “share our calm” too.

We are in uncharted territory. Preparing for and living with the impact of coronavirus will have its challenges, and self-care may not seem like a priority. But that’s not true. Keeping ourselves supported and sustained is exactly what we need to ensure our families stay strong. You won’t just feel better, but you’ll be better for your family as well.

This article was adapted from the zerotothree website. Looking for more information? Visit https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/3210-tips-for-families-coronavirus for their latest resources and updates for families.

How to Practise Empathy during the Covid19 Pandemic

Empathy can help us connect with others even though we are apart and it can help us deal with the challenges we are facing at the moment. This article is from the VeryWellMind website and although we have reproduced it below you can also download the original here  https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-practice-empathy-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-4800924

Medically reviewed by

Updated on March 30, 2020

Empathy

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to sweeping changes and disruptions in nearly every aspect of daily life. With mandates and guidelines changing all the time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by our own anxieties. It is important to practice empathy during this time, not only for others but for yourself as well.

There are many benefits to practicing empathy. Empathizing with others can help you feel less lonely and more connected. It also increases the likelihood that people will reach out and help others when they need it.

In addition to boosting social connectedness and increasing helping behaviors, empathizing with others also improves your ability to regulate your emotions during times of stress. Feeling empathy allows you to better manage the anxiety you are experiencing without feeling overwhelmed.

Ways to Build Empathy

Some people are just empathetic by nature, but there are plenty of things that you can do to cultivate your own empathy skills. Research has also shown that empathy is an emotional skill that can be learned.

Listening to others, engaging in acts of service, observing the empathetic actions of others, and imagining yourself in another person’s situation are all strategies that can help build empathy.

Here are some things you can do to try to stay empathetic even when it feels like staying in touch with other people is more difficult than ever.

Stay Connected

In a time when people are practicing social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine, it’s all too easy to turn inward and focus solely on yourself or your family unit. But research suggests that caring about others is one of the best ways to fight feelings of isolation.

Showing empathy and engaging in helpful actions, whether it’s donating to a charity or writing a supportive note to a friend, can increase your feelings of social connectedness.

So while you may be keeping your physical distance from others to prevent the spread of the virus, it doesn’t mean you need to be emotionally distant. Show concern and stay connected to the people in your life.

Be Aware

Consider some of the ways that the pandemic has affected your life. Are you working from home or on paid leave? Are your kids out due to school closures? Do you have plenty of food in your pantry and freezer?

Now think about how others might answer those same questions depending on their situation and circumstances. Many people have lost their jobs and are out of work, others have no choice but to continue working. Some people are worried about how to find childcare as they continue to work, and many may be struggling to find or pay for basic necessities.

Empathy and understanding are a critical part of compassion and, more importantly, action. Think of others and look for ways that you can help.

Be Kind

Take it easy on yourself and others. It’s ok if you aren’t managing to do it all. It’s ok if your kids are watching a little too much tv or if you aren’t keeping up on your usual routines. It’s a lot to deal with and everyone copes with stress, anxiety, and fear differently. Cut yourself some slack and practice self-compassion.

Working parents are struggling to manage kids who are home all day now that schools have closed. Not only is the work situation unsettled, but parents are also trying to help kids with distance learning.

Those working in healthcare and finance are busier than ever. Not only are they dealing with the stress of being on the front line of a public health crisis, but they may also be struggling to find someone to watch their own kids while they are at work.

We all have our own anxieties, but that doesn’t mean we should lose our kindness in the face of a crisis.

Be Considerate

Sometimes we may be quick to criticize others without making the effort to understand how their situation and experiences are impacting their choices. Yes, it’s easy to lob criticism at others in a time of crisis, particularly those who don’t seem to be taking the situation seriously. Try to remember that everyone copes differently. People may also feel overwhelmed by conflicting information from news sources and social media.

While you cannot control how others behave, you can control your own actions and do your part by sharing health information from legitimate sources. Ask others to observe your desire for physical distance and try to gently encourage friends and family to stay home, wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing, and self-isolate if they experience symptoms.

Help Others

In the midst of something that seems overwhelming, helping others can provide a sense of control and empowerment. When the world feels unpredictable and chaotic, finding tangible ways to do good and make things better for someone else can be a source of comfort.

Some ways that you can practice empathy:

If you are in a financial position where you can stay home, look for ways that you can support others who may be struggling.

  • Don’t panic buy. If you are overbuying items you are making it more difficult for others to find what they need.
  • Donate non-perishable goods to food pantries.
  • Put together care packages for healthcare workers, elderly neighbors, or those whose jobs have been affected.
  • Purchase gift certificates from restaurants and small businesses that have been affected.
Offer to help neighbors who may not be able to leave home to get the things that they need. Shopping for groceries and household items or ordering extra items from online delivery or pickup services are good examples of ways you can offer tangible assistance.

Stay home. One of the best things you can do to support others is to simply stay home. Follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC (HSE in Ireland). Avoid groups, stay home as much as possible, and practice social distancing. Staying out of the way helps prevent the spread of the virus, which helps ensure that healthcare professionals and resources are not overwhelmed.

A Word From Verywell

Empathy is always important, but it is particularly vital during a public health crisis. Practicing empathy during the COVID-19 pandemic not only opens your mind to what others are experiencing, but it can also provide social connectedness that can help combat feelings of isolation. During a large-scale event, it is important to remember that everyone is in this together—think of others, reach out however you can, and remember to ask for help if you need it.

My teenagers are fighting with each other

We are probably not used to living family life quite so intensely, with each other almost all the time at the moment. That may mean that tension rises and squabbles break out. Here are some tips from John Sharry of Parents Plus, on how to help teenagers deal with tensions and differences without fighting. This was written before we found our lives turned upside down by Corona Virus but there are a lot of good ideas in it which could be useful now.

https://www.solutiontalk.ie/irish-times-parenting-qa-with-dr-john-sharry-sibling-rivalry-my-teenagers-are-fighting-with-each-other/

QUESTION
My 16-year-old daughter has always been a strong character and a bit fiery, but recently she seems to be fighting with everyone. She is very competitive and always trying to pick fights, particularly with her younger sister who is a much more laid-back character. They are very close in age, just one year between them, and I think a lot of the conflict stems from jealousy. The younger has started to do well in school and our eldest is very competitive and puts her down.

It has got to a point where we can’t praise the youngest if she gets a good report or else the older girl will throw a tantrum. Don’t get me wrong, we try not to compare them and always try to be positive towards both of them. But to be honest, because the older girl is so negative and always in trouble recently, this is a lot harder.

ANSWER
Jealousy and rivalry between siblings are very common and a significant factor in many family conflicts particularly when one child is unhappy or “acting out”. Further, sibling rivalry can become particularly acute during adolescence when teenagers are trying to work out their individual identity, and what they stand for as distinct from other people in the family. At this time you may be also dealing with teenage rebellion as parents, which can make it a fraught time for everyone in the family.

Understanding sibling rivalry and competitiveness
At the heart of sibling rivalry is a fight for parents’ approval and attention. Children and teenagers frequently fear that their parents might approve or love one sibling more than another or that their parents’ approval is dependent on a certain quality or skill that their sibling might have more of. While, of course, as parents you strive to love each of your children

equally and not to pit them against each other, much of the competitive pressure comes from outside the home. The educational system and many sporting disciplines emphasise attainment that distinguishes who is the best and who is the worst. This can be particularly difficult for teenagers if they are not performing as well as their brother or sister in these areas and can lead to conflict and poor self-esteem.

While, of course, as parents you strive to love each of your children equally and not to pit them against each other, much of the competitive pressure comes from outside the home. The educational system and many sporting disciplines emphasise attainment that distinguishes who is the best and who is the worst. This can be particularly difficult for teenagers if they are not performing as well as their brother or sister in these areas and can lead to conflict and poor self-esteem.

The educational system and many sporting disciplines emphasise attainment that distinguishes who is the best and who is the worst. This can be particularly difficult for teenagers if they are not performing as well as their brother or sister in these areas and can lead to conflict and poor self-esteem.

Sibling rivalry can be inadvertently reinforced by parents’ reactions
Without meaning to, your reactions as a parent can reinforce sibling rivalry. For example, any time you praise your youngest in front of the eldest (particularly around exam achievement if this is a sensitive issue), this can make her feel more insecure and even believe that you favour the younger girl.

In addition, if during an argument you intervene on the side of one of your girls, this can leave the other feeling you favour her sister. This happens even when you intervene for a good reason such as when your eldest daughter might appear to be in the wrong or “acting up” and shouting at her sister.

Praise and encourage them equally and uniquely
To counter this you need to go out of your way to make sure you provide your two daughters not just with equal amounts of attention and encouragement but you want to avoid praise that somehow makes a comparison or implies a criticism of the other.

As it is a sensitive issue, this might mean not praising your youngest for her education grades in front of the eldest for the moment. Instead, you might want to emphasise more “non-comparable” qualities such as “doing your best” or “being proud of your hard work”. When praising the two of them you want to emphasise qualities that both girls can aspire to as well any shared strengths and interests that might bring them together.

It is also important to encourage each of their unique and individual qualities (eg one has a passion for music and the other for art) that allow them to appreciate each other differently without competition. You want each girl to find their niche and place in life.

Empower them to sort out their own disputes
It is important not to take sides in any disputes or rows they might have but rather to empower them to sort out these disputes themselves.

Your role is not to judge who is wrong but rather to be a mediator and to help them work out how to manage things. If you do need to intervene, try to address both of them – “Listen, let’s take a moment for both of you to calm down and talk this out.”

And if you do need to correct them, make sure you hold them both accountable at some level. For example, you might say to the eldest, “You should try to explain your point without shouting” and to the youngest, “You should listen to your sister without rolling your eyes.”

Help them empathise with each other
When talking to them individually about problems, never judge the other and always help them empathise with their sister. For example, you might explain privately to the youngest that her sister is sensitive to a big deal being made of exam results and explain to the oldest that her younger sister finds loud conflicts hard to deal with.

You want to communicate that you understand both of them individually and that you are on both their sides in sorting things out.

Take steps to support their relationship with each other
Do what you can to help them spend time together and to enjoy each other’s company. Simple things like sending them on a shopping trip together to buy something for the family or putting them on the same team in a family game could all help.

You could also help them learn to get on by setting them a task such as organising a family celebration or decorating a room together for which they might earn a collective treat or reward if they work as a team.

In the long term, once they become less competitive in seeking your approval and more secure in their relationship with each other, you would expect them to be able to enjoy the other’s successes and to become close, supportive sisters as they grow up.

Dr. John Sharry, Irish Times Newspaper. John writes in The Irish Times Health Plus every Tuesday. ‘Parenting Pre-Teens & Teenagers’ course with John Sharry Sunday 22nd October (9am-1pm) Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin, details here.
www.solutiontalk.ie