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Tips for Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s During COVID-19

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Caring for senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s is especially important during a public health crisis.

Providing homecare assistance for your family member with dementia is very difficult under the best of conditions; mix in a worldwide pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, masks and gloves, and thorough sterilization of both ourselves and the environment, and the challenge of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s may seem insurmountable.

CareFor’s Alzheimer’s care team provides the following ideas to help minimize fear and frustration for seniors with Alzheimer’s, while keeping both them and their caregivers safe:

Make self-care a top priority. Now more than ever before, it’s crucial that you determine your personal amount of stress, and make a plan to make sure you are healthy – both emotionally and physically. You can only give the best caregiving help for your loved one if your own needs are met. This could possibly mean restricting time spent watching the news as well as on social media, maintaining connections with friends and family, and taking time for relaxing, rewarding hobbies.

Focus on personal hygiene. Correct handwashing techniques are crucial for all of us, but may be tricky for people with dementia to keep up. Depending on the individual’s stage of the disease, it might help to wash your hands alongside one another, demonstrating for your loved one; or place signs beside the sink in the bathroom and kitchen with a message to scrub for 20 seconds. And note that repetition, a common behavior in dementia, can work in your favor in this situation.

Consider your words carefully. When communicating with a loved one about changes relevant to COVID-19, it is important to keep it simple, utilizing 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.”

Be sure to have a backup plan. In case you were identified as having COVID-19 yourself, or any other health condition that could stop you from safely providing caregiving help for the senior with dementia, it is crucial to have a strategy in place for who could help step in to fulfill your caregiving duties. A competent home care agency, such as CareFor, is the perfect choice, with professional caregivers who are knowledgeable in specialized Alzheimer’s care.

Allow CareFor to help. Our professional dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in both adhering to proper protocol related to decreasing the risk for contracting coronavirus, as well as in the unique kind of care that’s most effective for people with dementia. Reach out to us online or at (512) 338-4533 for a consultation or to learn more about the elder care Austin, TX and the surrounding areas trust.

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