Loneliness. Confusion. Isolation. These feelings are getting to be commonplace for a number of us during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if you factor in the element of dementia, the challenges and frustrations are elevated to an entirely new level.
Take, as an example, the short-term memory loss inherent in dementia. A family care provider trying to find the proper way to explain why the senior can no longer go out for coffee, get a haircut, or visit with the neighbors might 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 importance of assisting those with dementia to minimize undue stress, which can increase the progression of the disease. So how can family caregivers best help their loved ones with dementia to calmly navigate life during a pandemic? Here are several helpful strategies:
- Stay calm. Although you may feel anxious and weighed down with the state of the world, it’s wise to keep from speaking about alarming issues and even watching the news with an individual with dementia. Be sure to identify an appropriate outlet for your feelings, however – your partner or other loved ones, a therapist, or trusted friend.
- Maintain a routine. Keep in mind, certain previously enjoyed routines that entail outings or visits with family members might need to be placed on hold, but maintain a predictable schedule in the home that’s reassuring to the older adult, such as a certain time for meals, exercise, hobbies, and bedtime.
- Create a backup plan. In the event that you were to become sick, who would be suitable to step in to care for your loved one? Strategizing now, before the need arises, is critical. Partnering with a skilled home care agency, like JFS Care, is the ideal solution. And, it’s a great idea to set up for regular respite care now, to help a loved one become acquainted and comfortable with having another caregiver in the house.
And always remember, it’s vitally important for you to take good care of yourself, too! Make sure to designate time each day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to help you to unwind and destress, to stay connected to family, to follow a healthy diet and fitness regimen, 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 JFS Care, the top providers of home care services in Santa Monica and the surrounding areas, is equipped and ready to safely care for older adults, especially those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, following all recommended protective guidelines.