Loneliness. Confusion. Isolation. These feelings have become commonplace for a number of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when you factor in the challenges of dementia, the difficulties and frustrations are heightened to a completely new level.
Take, for example, the short-term memory loss inherent in dementia. A family caregiver searching for the proper way to explain why the senior won’t be able to venture out for coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors may need to offer up that explanation several times – often in the same day.
Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, stresses the necessity of helping individuals with Alzheimer’s to minimize unnecessary stress, which can accelerate the progression of the disease. So just how can family members best help their senior loved ones 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 best to steer clear of talking about alarming issues and even watching the news with an individual with Alzheimer’s. Make sure to determine an appropriate outlet for your feelings, however – your partner or other members of the family, a therapist, or trusted friend.
- Maintain routines. Of course, certain previously enjoyed routines that include outings or visits with loved ones might need to be placed on hold; however, maintain 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. If you were to become ill, who would be qualified to step up to care for your senior loved one? Strategizing now, prior to when the need arises, is critical. Partnering with a skilled home care agency, like Generations at Home, is the ideal solution, and it’s an excellent idea to arrange for regular respite care now, to help a loved one become familiar and comfortable with having another caregiver inside your home.
And always remember, it is very important for you to take good care of yourself, too! Don’t forget to set aside time each day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to let you unwind and destress, to remain connected with family and friends, to adhere to a healthy diet and fitness regimen, and to get lots of sleep. If carving out time for yourself is a struggle, 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, be aware that Generations at Home is equipped and ready to safely care for seniors, especially those diagnosed with dementia, following all recommended protective guidelines. Give us a call at 727-940-3414 to arrange an in-home consultation to learn more.