July 14, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

senior-woman-sitting-outside-with-mask

Loneliness. Isolation. Confusion. These feelings are becoming commonplace for many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when you factor in the element of Alzheimer’s, the difficulties and frustrations are heightened to a whole 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 could need to offer up that explanation many times – frequently within the same day.

Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, stresses the importance of assisting individuals with dementia to limit unnecessary stress, which may accelerate the progression of the disease. So just how can friends and family best help their loved ones with Alzheimer’s to calmly navigate life during a pandemic? Here are some helpful strategies:

  • Stay calm. While you may feel anxious and overwhelmed because of the state of the world, it’s better to try to avoid talking about alarming issues or even watching the news with an individual with dementia. Make sure to find a suitable outlet for your feelings, however – your spouse or other family members, a therapist, or trusted friend.
  • Maintain routines. Of course, 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 comforting 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 qualified to step up to care for your loved one? Strategizing now, prior to when the need arises, is vital. Partnering with an experienced home care agency, like At Home Independent Living, is the ideal solution, plus it’s a great idea to set up regular respite care now, to help a loved one become accustomed and comfortable with having another caregiver in the house.

And always remember, it is very important for you to take care of yourself, too! Don’t forget to set aside time each day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to allow you to unwind and destress, to remain connected with family and friends, to adhere to a healthy diet and exercise routine, and to get plenty of sleep. If carving out time for yourself is a problem, let us know – we have the solution you need!

As we all continue to wait for a vaccine or effective treatment option for COVID-19, know that At Home Independent Living is equipped and prepared to safely care for senior loved ones, especially individuals diagnosed with dementia, following all recommended protective guidelines. Call us at (315) 579-HOME [MS4] (4663) to schedule an in-home consultation for additional information.