The Alzheimer’s Society reports that over 850,000 people are suffering from dementia in the UK. Although dementia does not increase one’s risk of Coronavirus infection it does present specific challenges in the current environment. If you’re caring for someone with dementia, helping them follow necessary hygiene practices and other precautions can be difficult. If you’re facing a similar matter, here are some tips from experts on how to provide proper care for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s during COVID-19:
1) Help observe proper hygiene
Physically demonstrating hand washing is essential but try to avoid reiterating it too much as this can cause unnecessary stress which can be counter-productive. For the best results, set up a schedule for hand washing, wherein you accompany them until they feel comfortable doing it on their own. Putting up visual or written instructions by the sink can also help, especially when you’re asking them to remember to wash their hands for 20 seconds. Moreover, keep alcohol-based sanitisers accessible throughout the home, as this provides an additional reminder.
2) Know the signs of increased confusion and handle it effectively
Dementia may render them unable to fully comprehend the situation and so increase levels of confusion. Don’t shut them away from the pandemic but try to explain it in relatable terms instead. This still depends on the onset of the disease, of course, but make sure to explain the COVID-19 in a context that they understand. Even if the conversation results in nothing, stay calm and reassuring.
3) Create workable schedules
In an unprecedented time of frustration and panic, it’s important to create a routine that works best for both of you. Spend the morning going on walks around the house, especially in areas where the sun is present. Make sure that meals are taken timely and in adequate amounts, as with their medications—timely intake of pills is integral for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Make sure that they take baths as necessary and reiterate the need for handwashing. To ensure that their moods remain stable, look for activities that will keep them well occupied. It can be as simple as tending to the garden, folding clothes or reading, so long as you remain by their side.
4) Take good care for yourself
As a caregiver, you need to take good care of yourself, too! This is a time of stress and anxiety, so keep yourself as healthy and functional as possible. Ask someone else to take over so you can take necessary breaks—the risk of burnout is real, as with compassion fatigue. The pandemic continues to ripple across the world and no one knows how long it will last and the repercussions it will leave. To stay well and committed, you need to be aware of your stress levels and anxiety, as people with Alzheimer’s tend to pick up on your emotions. This will likely increase confusion and trigger attacks. To manage anxiety, keep exposure to the news at minimum, and keep away from social media. Instead, focus on being present with the task at hand and rest as necessary.
Dealing with crises can be challenging, especially for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. With careful attention and planning to the unique needs of those in need of care, you will be more empowered to respond appropriately and quickly to address any issues that may arise.
Staying at your best can be difficult, so you must find “care companions”. These could be other people or even devices, so long as they help make those receiving care feel better and well cared for. An automatic pill dispenser for your loved ones with Alzheimer’s for instance, can be a good option. Get yours now with us, we provide free express UK shipping on orders over £50!