Loneliness. Isolation. Confusion. These feelings are becoming common for a number of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but once you factor 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 searching for the proper way to explain why the senior no longer can head out for a cup of coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors may need to offer up that explanation numerous times – frequently within the same day.
Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, emphasizes the need for assisting those with Alzheimer’s to limit unnecessary stress, which may increase the progression of the disease. So just how can family members best help their loved ones with Alzheimer’s to comfortably navigate life during a pandemic? Here are several helpful suggestions to deal with common Alzheimer’s challenges:
- Stay calm. Although you may feel stressed and weighed down with the state of the world, it is best to try to avoid discussing alarming issues or even watching the news with someone with dementia. Make sure to determine an appropriate outlet for your feelings, however – your spouse or other loved ones, a therapist, or trusted friend.
- Stick with a routine. As you can imagine, certain previously enjoyed routines that entail outings or visits with family members may need to be placed on hold, but keep a predictable schedule in the house that’s reassuring to the senior loved one, such as a certain time for meals, exercise, hobbies, and bedtime.
- Create a backup plan. In the event that you were to become unwell, who would be qualified to step in to care for your senior loved one? Strategizing now, prior to when the need arises, is very important. Partnering with a professional home care agency, like Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, is the ideal solution, plus it’s a great idea to arrange for regular respite care now, to help the senior become familiar and comfortable with having another caregiver in your home.
And don’t forget, it’s vitally important for you to take good care of yourself, too! Be sure to set aside time every day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to let you unwind and destress, to stay connected with family and friends, to follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, and also to get lots of sleep. If carving out time for yourself is a challenge, 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, be aware that Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is equipped and willing to safely care for senior loved ones, including people who have Alzheimer’s, while following all recommended protective guidelines. Reach out to us online or call us at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek to schedule an in-home consultation to learn more about our Kalamazoo, MI dementia care. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.