Loneliness. Isolation. Confusion. These feelings are getting to be commonplace for many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when you factor in the element of dementia or Alzheimer’s, the difficulties and frustrations are increased to a completely new level.
Take, for instance, the short-term loss of memory inherent in dementia. A family care provider looking for the proper way to explain why the senior won’t be able to go out for coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors may need to offer up that explanation numerous times – frequently in the same day.
Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, stresses the necessity of helping individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to minimize unnecessary stress, which could accelerate the progression of the disease. So how can you best help a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease to calmly navigate life during a pandemic? Here are some helpful tips:
- Stay calm. Even though you may feel stressed and overwhelmed because of the state of the world, it is better to try to avoid speaking about alarming issues and even watching the news with an individual with dementia. Make sure to identify an appropriate outlet for your feelings, however – your spouse or other loved ones, a therapist, or trusted friend.
- Maintain a routine. As you can imagine, certain previously enjoyed routines that include outings or visits with family and friends may need to be placed on hold, however, maintain a predictable schedule in your home that is reassuring to the senior, such as a certain time for meals, exercise, hobbies, and bedtime.
- Institute a backup plan. If you were to become sick, who would be suitable to step in to care for your family member? Creating a strategy now, prior to when the need arises, is critical. Partnering with a skilled home care agency, like Seniorcorp, is the ideal solution, plus it’s a good idea to set up for regular respite care now, to help the senior become familiar and comfortable with having another caregiver in the home.
And remember, it’s vitally important for you to take care of yourself, too! Make sure to set aside time every day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to help you to unwind and destress, to stay connected to close friends, to follow a healthy diet and fitness regimen, and also to get a lot of sleep. If carving out time for yourself is a problem, let us know – we have the solution you need!
While we all continue to wait for a vaccine or effective treatment option for COVID-19, understand that Seniorcorp is equipped and prepared to help with the challenges of dementia care while following all recommended protective guidelines.