Our researchers provide some tips and tricks on navigating this time to come out healthy on the other end.
Disruption to daily routines in the wake of coronavirus and access to physical services can be a cause of confusion and anxiety for many, as we adapt to uprooted working, learning and socialising habits. Many of the people we see in our clinics already experience heightened levels of confusion in the face of disrupted routines and for patients of Brain and Mind Centre clinics, their families and support networks, this is a particularly fraught time.
For carers and patients seeking advice on managing physical isolation, we have gathered advice from some of our researchers here. The tips and resources in these links comes from specialists in youth mental health, ageing and dementia, sleep disorders and gambling clinic, but the common thread running through the tips and resources highlights some factors of health and wellbeing are universal. From social connections, good sleep patterns and healthy routine there are some things we can all do to see people through this time. We also have some ways you can participate – with the launch of two new online surveys into understanding the impacts of COVID-19.
Staying connected with as much human contact as possible is a key to mental health and wellbeing. While most people have quickly moved over to Digital technology to keep in contact with work, school and social connections, people with cognitive or movement disorders have found it much more difficult to adapt. Checking in regularly is important for mental health and stimulation, but a real voice – over the phone or video is more helpful than a text or email.
Dementia patients will find this a particularly confusing time. Likewise, family members will be navigating extra responsibilities looking after someone's wellbeing remotely. Our Frontier clinic has compiled some advice to help support someone with dementia. ... [link to Olivier's video and their info]
The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented. Our youth mental health team lists regular exercise, fresh air and a break from screens as simple daily actions young people can take to maintain health and wellbeing. For people with limited mobility, Parkinson’s disease or movement disorders this is equally important but more challenging. We've included a video below from Prof Simon Lewis that better explains this.
The Brain and Mind Centre Sleep and Circadian Biology team prepared the following tips:
This time could be a time to not only set new, healthy routines, but to find a break from risky habits. Researchers at the Brain and Mind Centre’s Gambling Treatment Research Clinic are still seeing people via tele and online appointments. Associate Professor Sally Gainsbury said seeking help at this time offers a unique opportunity to take action while venues are closed and offering a moment of pause from traditional avenues for addictive behaviours.
The clinic has also launched a national online survey on betting during and following COVID-19 shutdowns to track the consequences of the pandemic and inform treatments.
Professor Simon Lewis produces a series of videos for patients and carers. In this installment he suggests ways to keep things as normal as possible during times of physical isolation: Accessing carer packages from support organisations, and drawing on others to find creative ways to continue brain training, physical exercise, social stimulation
View more content from Prof Lewis at his webpage.
Currently there are an estimated 460,000 people living with dementia in Australia and 1.6 million people involved in the care of someone living with dementia.
The Frontier Clinic developed a Dementia Toolkit to assist carers during Coronavirus shutdowns, and since its release in April, this highly accessible resource has been applied to day-to-day challenges of living with dementia. The advice, designed specifically for carers, includes coping strategies to support carers' needs.
Download the toolkit here (PDF, 852 kb)