How Covid-19 Should Accelerate Dementia Epidemic Worldwide

  • Monica Vasconcelos
  • From BBC News Brazil in London

old woman's hands

Credit, PA Media

Photo caption,

Lack of social contact and cognitive stimuli can have serious consequences

“What I really wanted was to have coffee with my friends, because I know being alone is driving me a little crazy. (…) There’s no one to get the bad thoughts, the confused thoughts, out of my head. Normally, you think, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to die’, or, ‘my grandchildren are going to die if they go to school.’ A quick chat with a friend will make you realize you’re talking nonsense. But I haven’t had that, so, things are getting completely out of hand.”

“There are people who learned to speak a new language. I didn’t do anything. I just stood there, looking at the walls. I went upstairs and asked myself, what did I come up here to do?”

This is how the 88-year-old British actress and writer Sheila Hancock describes the experience of living in isolation during the covid-19 pandemic in an interview with BBC Radio 4.

Many people around the world might identify with Hancock’s testimony. But at the age of the actress, the absence of social contact and cognitive stimuli can have serious consequences. In some cases it is a risk factor for developing dementia.