Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be challenging in today’s environment. The most important thing is to limit their risk of exposure to the virus. As a caregiver, you will have to decide how much time you spend around others and in public and understand that people living with dementia will likely not comprehend the importance of not touching communal items and to avoid touching their face, and may be challenged to wear a mask.
If you choose to shelter-in-place, it’s important to keep your loved one engaged. Spending time visiting with family members and friends by phone or video call is a great activity. Based on the level of functioning of the dementia patient, they may not be able to use the phone appropriately and it might be difficult to remember to keep the receiver near their ear. They also might not connect with the voice to the person they are talking with.
Connecting Through Video Calls
Video calls are a great way to connect with those suffering from dementia during the pandemic. Being able to see and hear from someone is very helpful in maintaining the connection during the call.
You may find that your loved one with dementia is focused on “finding” the person they are video calling after the call is over and you will have the determine if this is easily redirected or if it is causing unnecessary anxiety. If you do notice that the call may be causing stress or anxiety, you may want to limit those calls.
Hand Washing and Sanitation
If you choose to venture out into public, consider helping encourage your loved one to wash their hands by offering them scented soaps. You can also help by administering hand sanitizer through a handshake or hand massage.
Maintaining Structure and Wellbeing During Unpredictable Times
Whatever you choose to do during this unprecedented time, remember that even a structured day should have some flexibility for someone with dementia. Try to focus the structure around the person’s natural rhythm and daily habits, and remember to give yourself a break. No matter what you are doing, you are doing great because you are trying so, give yourself some grace.
Focus on trying to fulfill the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of the person you are caring for and don’t stress about trying to have a perfect day – focus on having a good day.
Try starting out with a daily reflection or moment of prayer. These are trying times and the hidden benefit of this worldwide crisis is that we have more time with our families than ever before, make the most of it!
At Catholic Care Center, we provide not-for-profit safe retirement living and healthcare to seniors and retired individuals where they could learn, live, grow, and receive the care they need regardless of religious affiliation or condition.
Our goal is to help you find the best option for the senior in your life. We are currently taking new residents. Reach out to us by calling (316) 771-6550 to schedule a virtual tour.