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Does a person with dementia have to wear a face covering?

Memory Care FAQs

At present, in England, individuals must wear a face covering in a number indoor settings such as on public transport, shops, supermarkets, libraries and places of workshop.

That being said, the government guidance outlines a number of circumstances where a person is exempt from wearing a face covering. This includes:

  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate

A person may also remove a face covering temporarily while they are in public to eat, drink or take medication.

If someone you care for has dementia and finds it difficult to wear a face covering then they are seen as having a ‘reasonable excuse’ not to wear one.

Carer putting face mask on elderly woman

How can I encourage someone with dementia to wear a face covering?

Face coverings protect against the spread of infection as they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, it is better if a person can wear a face covering while in public.

An individual with dementia might find wearing a face covering difficult for many reasons. They might:

  • Forget why they need to wear one
  • Find the mask uncomfortable
  • Dislike how the fabric feels
  • Feel anxious about having their mouth and nose covered

If this is the case, it may help to try and address these concerns. For example, if the person finds the mask uncomfortable might they be more likely to wear a face covering made of a different fabric or with looser fastenings.

That being said, if wearing a face covering or mask genuinely causes a person distress then this can be cited as a reasonable excuse for not wearing one.

Dementia Care & Support From Lovett Care

At Lovett Care we provide specialist dementia care at Goldendale House, Hilton House and Twyford House Luxury Care Centre. To find out more about our care services, from residential to respite and day care, contact us today and speak to a member of our caring team.