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COVID-19 Dementia Care: Expert Tips for Caregivers

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “nearly five million Americans over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s dementia.” Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia affect a person’s thinking, memory, and overall behavior. As the disease progresses, many people living with Alzheimer’s rely on a caregiver to help them with basic daily tasks. In fact, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 15.7 million American caregivers provide support to a family member living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

Caregiving can be an extremely demanding job, especially for those taking care of a spouse as they themselves continue to age. As nursing homes continue to respect social-distancing guidelines as instructed by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control during the COVID-19 pandemic, caregiving has a new set of challenges to navigate. The Alzheimer’s Association has compiled a list of tips to help ease this time of uncertainty for caregivers.

Focus on Hygiene

As we continue to focus on staying healthy, maintaining high-standards for hygiene and cleanliness should be prioritized. However, it’s important to be intentional about the language we use because alarming our loved ones might cause them to become anxious and overwhelmed.

You might consider reinforcing the importance of washing hands with your loved one by creating gentle reminders for the restroom and near hand-washing areas. Also, if you’re exposed to other people, make sure to wear a mask and encourage your loved one to do the same.

Create an Emergency Medical Plan

It’s crucial to have an emergency plan put in place in case of a medical emergency, especially during this time of COVID-19. As COVID regulations begin to lift across the country, you might consider calling your healthcare provider to see what you should do in the event of an emergency. Here are a few things you should ask during your call:

  • Are there any new procedures I should be aware of regarding routine visits and emergency visits?
  • Are Telehealth or at-home visits possible during these times?
  • What are the procedures we should follow in case we need to visit the emergency room?

Reinforce Social Interaction

While you continue to abide by social-distancing protocols, you and your loved one could be more at risk for loneliness and isolation. If unaddressed, these can have negative long-term side effects, such as increase in cognitive decline, digestive issues, and depression. You might consider scheduling weekly phone-calls, video chats, and exchange emails with friends and family. While it’s not possible to have large family and friend gatherings, it is possible to stay connected in different ways.

If your loved one is used to going out and running errands with you, going on low-risk outings might be a better alternative. A trip to the park, going on a drive, or a simple walk around the neighborhood can help establish some regularity.

Staying Safe at Carespring

Our staff members at our facilities in Dayton, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are working hard during this time to keep our residents safe, happy, and healthy. To learn more about our offerings, please don’t hesitate to contact us.