Posted on July 8, 2021

Our masks can come off after July 19th, and in so many ways I’m so relieved.

‘People judge my grandmother for not wanting to wear one but it’s not about preference, but her fear.’

Dorothy, my wonderful, 90-year-old grandmother, who I care for dearly, has dementia and the mandatory wearing of masks has been a complete nightmare for her – and therefore also for us. How do you ‘force’ someone with dementia to wear something on her face?

I feel strongly about it which is probably why I was quoted in The Telegraph this week. You can read the article here: Face masks will be the next culture war – so which side are you on?

The problems of wearing masks

My grandmother becomes very distressed when she must wear a mask, because they make her feel hot and enclosed.

Because she doesn’t understand what is going on around her, she also doesn’t understand why she must wear a mask.

 Not only does she get very upset when we put one on her, but so do I, as I can see the situation escalating and I can feel the tension build. Given that dementia doesn’t have a sign if we were to go out with her that would all get so much worse. So, we haven’t gone out with her.

I can’t wait for the restrictions to be removed, so we can stop traumatising people like her unnecessarily. 

My grandma can’t work out who people are when they’re wearing their masks. Heartbreakingly, her memory of me is now disappearing faster than it might have done in normal times. This causes me daily distress. When you take away those daily points of familiarity for someone with dementia, their memory of you fades before your very eyes.

Not being able to see her granddaughter and great granddaughter’s faces during this time has been awful, and I can’t wait until she no longer must be subjected to this.

Those of you who don’t have relatives with this tragic disease probably think we perhaps are worrying too much about the masks rather than keeping her safe.

This is not the case at all. Our whole focus is to keep her safe, but, at the same time help her enjoy her life, and not add to the stress of her disease.

To keep her safe, I didn’t see my grandmother other than from the end of the drive, with me wearing a mask, for the first five months of lockdown, which was devastating for both of us.

All of my family members are double jabbed, which means now, technically, we should be able to take my grandmother out without worrying she’ll get sick. But of course, this hasn’t worked, because the requirement to wear masks and her fear of them, made it so difficult we had to stop.

On one occasion, we have tried to take her out for lunch without her mask, but nobody can see that she has dementia, and it’s impossible to reason with a big security guard who won’t let you into a restaurant because an elderly lady doesn’t want to put her mask on. Trying to get her to wear a lanyard just adds to the problem.

Sadly, this last year has shown me how little awareness and compassion there is for people with dementia, and just how different their lives are. For them, masks aren’t simply a matter of preference, but something that can completely terrify them.

I feel very strongly about the elderly and vulnerable, which is why I was determined that my block management business should be dementia friendly.

Also, I seem to have a way with older adults. I’m gentle and always respectful, and above everything else I’m kind and patient and I take time to build a brilliant trusting relationship. In fact, recently at Fraser Allen Estate Management we seem to be attracting more and more clients over 65 due to our approach to working with our older adults.

Give me a cup of tea and I’ll be there all afternoon listening intently to all their great stories!!

In the UK we are an aging population, so being able to communicate with an aging population is so important. As the owner of an estate management company and helping people manage residential leasehold developments we work with an increasing number of mature older adults and the vulnerable and communicating in a kind, accurate, sincere and patient manner is so important. 

Getting back to the mask debate, there must be so many vulnerable people in the same or similar situations. When we have the choice to be free from wearing masks, I would urge everyone to stop and think before passing judgement on someone’s choice not to wear a mask – because it may not be a choice, but a medical reason and one that you cannot see or even begin to understand.

If you like the sound of the way we work at Fraser Allen and you’d like your property to be in safe hands, then please call 01242 399150 or email us on  and let’s see how we can support you.