Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is often stressful under the best of conditions; mix in a worldwide pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, personal protective equipment, and meticulous sterilization of both ourselves and our home, and the challenge could seem insurmountable.
Effraim Home Care’s dementia care team offers the following suggestions to help minimize stress and irritation for seniors with dementia, while keeping both them and their caregivers safe:
- Be sure to make self-care a top priority. Now more so than ever, it is vital that you determine your own personal degree of stress, and take steps to ensure you’re in good health – both emotionally and physically. You can only supply the best care for a senior loved one if your own needs are met. This could mean decreasing time spent watching the news and on social media, maintaining connections with family and friends, and making time for comforting, enjoyable activities.
- Focus on personal hygiene. Correct handwashing techniques are crucial for everyone, but could be hard for anyone with Alzheimer’s to manage. Depending on the individual’s stage of the disease, it may be beneficial to wash hands alongside each other, showing the steps to your loved one; or, place signs near the sink in the bathroom and kitchen with a reminder to scrub for 20 seconds. And keep in mind that repetition, a typical behavior in Alzheimer’s, can work in your favor in this situation.
- Consider your words very carefully. When communicating with a loved one with dementia about changes connected to COVID-19, it is critical to keep it straightforward, using a calm and reassuring tone. Beth Kallmyer, Vice President of Care and Support at the Alzheimer’s Association, recommends statements such as, “We have to stay inside because that’s most safe for us, but we’ll do it together. I’ll be with you and we’ll be okay.”
- Have a backup plan. In the event that you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or another medical condition that might stop you from safely providing help for a senior loved one with dementia, it’s important to have a strategy set up for who could step in to execute your caregiving duties. A skilled home care agency, like Effraim Home Care, is the perfect choice, with professional caregivers who are knowledgeable in specialized dementia care.
Let Effraim Home Care help. Our specialized Alzheimer’s caregivers are fully trained and experienced in both adhering to proper protocol associated with minimizing the danger for contracting coronavirus, and in the specialized type of care that is most effective for anyone with dementia. Contact us at (215) 826-7422 for an assessment and to learn how to begin home and respite care in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding areas.