Loneliness. Isolation. Confusion. These feelings have become commonplace for many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when you add in the element of dementia, the challenges and frustrations are elevated to a whole new level.
Take, for instance, the short-term memory loss inherent in Alzheimer’s disease. A family caregiver trying to explain why the senior can no longer go out for coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors may need to offer up that explanation multiple times – often within the same day and with varying approaches.
Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, stresses the importance of helping those with dementia limit undue stress, which can accelerate the progression of the disease. So how can family members best help their loved ones with dementia to calmly navigate life during a pandemic? Here are a few helpful suggestions:
- Stay calm. While you may feel anxious and overwhelmed with the state of the world, it’s best to refrain from discussing alarming issues or even watching the news with someone with dementia. However, be sure to find an appropriate outlet for your feelings – your spouse or other family members, a therapist, or trusted friend.
- Maintain routines. Of course, certain previously enjoyed routines that involve outings or visits with loved ones may need to be put on hold. It is important to keep a predictable schedule in the home that’s comforting to the senior, such as a set time for meals, exercise, hobbies, and bedtime.
- Institute a backup plan. In the event that you were to become ill, consider who would be qualified to step in to care for your loved one. Strategizing now, before the need arises, is crucial. Partnering with a professional home care agency, such as Atlanta Home Care Partners, is the perfect solution, and there is value in arranging for regular respite care now, to help the senior become acquainted and comfortable with having another caregiver in the home.
And remember, it’s vitally important for you to take time to care for yourself. Be sure to designate time each day for relaxing, enjoyable activities that enable you to unwind and destress, stay connected to family and friends, follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, and get plenty of sleep. If carving out time for yourself is a challenge, let us know – the solution you need is only a phone call away.
As we all continue to wait for a vaccine or effective treatment options for COVID-19, know that Atlanta Home Care Partners is equipped and ready to safely care for seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s. Our highly-trained Atlanta Alzheimer’s care professionals follow all recommended protective guidelines. Call us at (404) 228-0103 to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more and see our full service area.