COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our ability to meet up with friends and family and engage in our normal activities. For some people, it’s also changed the way that care and rehabilitation are delivered.

Lots of people have been left feeling more isolated, and missing important people in their lives, as well as the activities they enjoy.

At the time of writing, government guidance in England allows groups of six people to meet in an open space, keeping two metres apart.

For those in England that have been shielding, however, while they can leave their house once a day, it must be with members of their household. If you are shielding, it is still strongly advised that you avoid shopping or your place of work. (Please note social distancing and shielding rules are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Given how changeable the guidance is, it may be difficult to remember what you can and can’t do safely. Keeping a written note of the current guidance to check before making plans or going out, is therefore advised.

The current advice is to wash our hands regularly for 20 seconds at a time and to use the correct technique.

For many people, this will mean more hand washing than normal and this changing routine can be difficult for us all to get used to, but can be even more difficult if you have memory difficulties.

There are some reminders of correct hand washing techniques available in ABIL’s resource pack. It may be helpful to put them up next to your sink, bin, letter box and wherever else you might think is necessary.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been various rules and guidance that we have to follow. This has meant that we all have had to make changes to the way we live our lives and develop new routines.

The government website has the most up to date information. However, there is a lot of information to process understand and remember, and it is important that we all adhere to the rules set out by the government.

There are many organisations that have broken down this information to support us all in understanding and following the rules.

We’ve included one of these in the resource pack. Headway also provides a helpline which, although can’t answer medical questions about the virus, is able to offer reassurance and a friendly voice.

This is one of five blogs in a series on living in the new ‘normal’ with a brain injury, based on a webinar produced for ABI London (ABIL). See below for links to all other articles in the series. Dr Keith G Jenkins is consultant clinical neuropsychologist at St Andrew’s Healthcare and chair of Headway East Northants. Dr Jenny Brooks is a consultant clinical psychologist working independently and a director of The ABI Team. For any questions about this topic email

Fitting COVID-19 guidelines into your routine

Keeping a check on your wellbeing

How to keep in touch with loved ones during the pandemic

How to keep a routine during the pandemic

How to get a good night’s sleep during the pandemic