July 15, 2020

Friendly old senior wears a mask to protect against viruses and bacteria

Continuum offers advice on how to help patients with Alzheimer’s during COVID-19 navigate life.

Loneliness. Confusion. Isolation. These feelings are getting to be commonplace for many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but once you add in the element of dementia, the difficulties and frustrations are increased to a completely new level.

Take, for instance, the short-term loss of memory inherent in Alzheimer’s disease. A family caregiver searching for the proper way to explain why the senior won’t be able to head out for coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors may need to offer up that explanation multiple times – often in the same day.

Sue Spalding, Chief Executive Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota, North Dakota Chapter, stresses the need for assisting individuals with dementia to minimize unnecessary stress, which may accelerate the progression of the disease. So just how can loved ones best help their senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s to comfortably navigate life during a pandemic? Here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Stay calm. While you may feel anxious and weighed down because of the state of the world, it’s a good idea to keep from speaking about alarming issues and even watching the news with a senior loved one with dementia. Be sure to identify an appropriate outlet for your feelings however – your partner or other members of the family, a therapist, or trusted friend.
  • Maintain a routine. Needless to say, certain previously enjoyed routines that involve outings or visits with family members might need to be placed on hold, however, keep a predictable schedule in the house that is reassuring to the senior, for example, a certain time for meals, exercise, hobbies and bedtime.
  • Institute a backup plan. In the event that you were to become unwell, who would be qualified to step in to care for your parent? Strategizing now, before the need arises, is a must. Partnering with an experienced home care agency, like Continuum, is the ideal solution, plus it’s a good idea to schedule regular respite care now, to help a senior loved one become accustomed and comfortable with having another caregiver in the home.

And remember, it is very important for you to take good care of yourself, too! Make sure to set aside time every day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to help you to unwind and destress, to stay connected with friends, to adhere to a healthy diet and fitness regimen, and to get a lot 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, understand that Continuum, providers of Alzheimer’s care in the St. Louis area, is equipped and ready to safely care for seniors, including individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, following all recommended protective guidelines. Call us at (314) 863-9912 to schedule an in-home consultation for additional information.