Throughout these past months since COVID-19 became a household term, older adults, who are most vulnerable to severe complications from the virus, have had to discover a new, more isolated normal. And while we know there are health risks associated with loneliness and isolation, we’re now beginning to understand another serious concern: the impact of social isolation and Alzheimer’s disease progression.
Because those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia may struggle to understand and follow safety precautions, such as wearing a face covering, reporting symptoms, and social distancing, isolation for these seniors has become especially crucial. Yet while maintaining these individuals’ physical health has been the top priority, it’s also important to consider their emotional wellbeing, which can also be negatively impacted when socialization is neglected.
According to Erica Farrell, clinical manager at the Alzheimer’s Association of Washington, caregivers are “seeing more rapid progression during this time where everyone is more anxious and there are fewer supports.” And founder of Aging Wisdom, Lisa Mayfield, adds, “We’re starting to see some real impact of these past three months and I think it’s starting to get attention like this isn’t working anymore.”
And for family caregivers, whose already high level of stress during the pandemic is exacerbated by worries over their older loved ones with dementia, the impact can lead to their own health risks. Self-care becomes all the more vital for family caregivers, who are encouraged by Farrell to seek out a local support group (which is free, and currently virtual), or to contact the 24/7 caregiver helpline at 800-272-3900 for someone to talk with. It can also be helpful to start a journal, recording your daily thoughts and concerns, to make sure to follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, and to get plenty of sleep each night.
Atlanta Home Care Partners is always here to help as well. Email or call our dementia care team at (404) 228-0103 any time to find out more about our specialized home health care in Decatur and the surrounding areas for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, providing seniors with the safe socialization and skilled care they need, and their family caregivers with time to rest and recharge. Whether the need is for just a few hours each week to allow you time to tend to other responsibilities, overnight care for a senior experiencing sundowning issues, or any of a wide range of other arrangements, Atlanta Home Care Partners is the solution Decatur families trust most. To find out if our expert home care services are available in your community, please visit our Service Area page.