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Lockdown. We kick and scream and try everything in our power to negotiate our way out of this reality. We challenge the minister of Police. We try to nd loopholes. The vitriol on Facebook about not being able to buy alcohol go for a run or take the dog for a walk is beyond toxic and aggressive. Somehow, we will not, cannot, tolerate that this is happening to us. Regardless of horrific statistics of the number of deaths globally, we simply cannot get our heads around a lockdown.

Yet, we think nothing of our Western culture that regularly sends older people into lockdown. At least we have the luxury of being locked down in our own homes, with our pets, our gardens, and our creature comforts. Can I implore you to try and contemplate for a moment what it must feel like to have to give up your home, have your dog put to sleep, sell your car, give away your furniture, photographs, beautiful linen and most of your clothes to move into a small apartment of room in an old age home?

Think of your own uncertainty, the fear, the anxiety around this Covid-19 virus. How it makes us all feel helpless. How this thing has made us feel desperate. Can I implore you to during this time try and imagine what it must feel like for someone living with dementia to be diagnosed? Most people know as much about dementia as they know about Covid-19 when they are diagnosed. And then they start trawling the internet, reading article after article on the horrors of the disease. Contradicting anecdotal fear-mongering horror stories of the disease that rips away your personality, turns you into a wandering blithering aggressive idiot that smears faeces all over themselves. A disease that does not have the mercy to kill you as quickly as COVID-19…oh no, this one will trap you for years and years. It will grind away at your soul and scrape away every bit of your personhood. That is what they say will happen…

Imagine the fear, the anxiety, the desperate plea for help, and not finding any of it. The best advice you would get is to sell up and move into a care facility with good “frail care”. The end. Oh no, sorry, not the end. The beginning of hell.

If this virus could teach us anything, I hope it teaches us about our own mortality. I hope it teaches us about our own precarity and vulnerability. I hope it teaches us to see what so many people are faced with when a system fails them when society shuns them and their reality changes through a medical diagnosis. Please take this time to ask yourself the question “How would I wish to be” if ever a diagnosis of dementia becomes your reality. Take this time to consider your opinions of people living with a different ability, and of your role in creating an inclusive environment for people living with dementia. Take the time to prepare yourself, like I hope you are protecting yourself against Covid-19, for your own ageing. It is never too late.

And while you are sitting in this temporary lockdown maybe feeling sorry for yourself, sipping a glass of wine with your dog on your lap, imagine the reality of thousands and thousands of people who have been in lockdown facilities in your own city or village, simply because their minds have changed.

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