Confusion. Isolation. Loneliness. These feelings are becoming common for a number of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, however when you factor in the element of Alzheimer’s, the challenges and frustrations are increased to an entirely new level.
Consider, for instance, the short-term loss of memory inherent in Alzheimer’s disease. A family care provider attempting 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 helping individuals with Alzheimer’s to limit undue stress, which might accelerate the progression of the disease. So just how can family members best help their senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s to calmly navigate life during a pandemic? Here are several helpful guidelines:
- Stay calm. Even though you may feel stressed and overwhelmed because of the state of the world, it is wise to keep from speaking about alarming issues and even watching the news with a senior with dementia. Make sure to find an appropriate outlet for your feelings however – your partner or other loved ones, a therapist, or trusted friend.
- Stick with routines. As you can imagine, certain previously enjoyed routines that include outings or visits with loved ones could need to be placed on hold, but maintain a predictable schedule in your home that is comforting to the senior loved one, for example, a certain time for meals, exercise, hobbies and bedtime.
- Create a backup plan. In the event that you were to become ill, who would be qualified to step up to care for your parent? Strategizing now, prior to when the need arises, is critical. Partnering with a knowledgeable home care agency, like Midnight Sun in Anchorage, is the perfect solution, and it’s a great idea to set up for regular respite care now, to help a senior loved one become familiar and comfortable with having another caregiver in your house.
And always remember, it’s vitally important for you to take care of yourself, too! Don’t forget to designate time every day for relaxing, enjoyable activities to allow you to unwind and destress, to stay connected with family and friends, to follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, and to get a healthy amount 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, be aware that Midnight Sun Home Care is equipped and willing to safely care for senior loved ones, including those diagnosed with dementia, following all recommended protective guidelines. Reach out to us at 907.677.7890 to arrange an in-home consultation for additional information.