How to Help Seniors with Alzheimer’s During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is a trying and daunting time for people of all ages, all over the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic proves to be somewhat unpredictable, people are being forced to stay home and practice social distancing. Social distancing is the best way for people to stay healthy and to protect not only themselves but the rest of the world. During the COVD-19 pandemic, people are being asked to stay in the comfort of their own homes, with the exception of going to essential businesses. With that being said, people, young and old need to shelter in place, including seniors that suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Seniors are at the most risk of losing their life to the COVID-19 virus; therefore, seniors need to take extreme precautions in order to preserve their own health. Healthy and sickly seniors alike need to social distance from the rest of society so that they can stay healthy. However, a demographic that needs special attention during these uncertain times, are seniors that are suffering from Alzheimer’s.
If you are caring for your loved one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s, or your loved one that has this disease is in the care of a nursing facility, below is what you need to know in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Small Guide to Alzheimer’s Care While in Quarantine
Seniors that are dealing with Alzheimer’s are not able to completely take care of themselves. This debilitating disease forces elderly adults to depend on the care of family members and/or nursing staff in order to live their everyday lives. If you have a loved one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s during this global pandemic, you may be wondering what the best kind of care is in order to keep them healthy since they can not totally social distance. Here is a short guide on how to provide the best care to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t Cancel In-Home Care Services
This is one of the most important things to pay attention to. If your loved one uses an in-home senior care service in order to live comfortably, it will be extremely detrimental to his or her health and wellbeing if this service is canceled. In-home care services should be continued during the COVID-19 virus because stopping them may end up impacting your loved one’s health if you or your family can not provide the appropriate care. Likewise, seniors that use an in-home care service, to begin with probably need special care that family members can not provide.
A specialist from an in-home care service pointed out that nurses are taking all the necessary precautions in order to keep their clients safe; meaning they are practicing extreme cleanliness and wearing the right protective gear. Therefore, family members of seniors that are suffering from Alzheimer’s should not pause the service for fear of bringing another person around their elderly loved one.
Practice Safe Hygiene If You Are The Caregiver
If you are the caregiver for your elderly loved one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s, you must make it a point to practice the best hygiene and cleanliness you can to ensure your aging loved one’s safety. Your aging loved one may live with you and you may not have a choice but to care for your loved one that has Alzheimer’s during this global pandemic; that’s why you need to go above and beyond to make sure that you are following the right sanitation protocol.
Of course, you should always wash your hands, however, now you should wash them every time you touch something, and before you touch something your aging loved one is going to touch. In addition to hand washing, you should make it a point to wear a mask and gloves around your loved one to prevent the spread of any germs.
Another tip to keep in mind in order to practice cleanliness around your loved one is to wipe down anything new that comes into the home. This means to wipe down the boxes of food you bring in, wash produce extra, and wipe down any packaging that someone else may have touched before your aging loved one touches it.
Stay in Contact with the Care Facility
On the other hand, if your loved one is not at home and is in a nursing facility, it’s crucial that you stay in contact with the nursing facility. The nursing facility has your loved one’s best interest in mind so it will not allow you to visit him or her, therefore, it’s worth your while to call frequently and inquire about your loved one’s health. Some questions to ask the nursing facility include:
- How is my loved one doing? Is he or she healthy?
- Is my loved one’s Alzheimer’s progressing or staying the same?
- Does my loved one have any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus?
- Has anyone in the facility been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus?
- What sanitation protocol are the nurses and staff taking?
Talk to Your Loved One About the Pandemic
If you are lucky enough to be able to talk to your loved one, try talking to him or her about the pandemic. Your loved one may be feeling confused with what is going on and why people are acting so different. Make it a point to talk about COVID-19 in a way that your loved one will understand; you are likely going to have to do this often, so make sure to only mention what is necessary.
Also, do your best to not scare your loved one; in other words, don’t disclose information about the number of deaths or how it is mainly impacting the elderly, instead, talk about what the virus is and why it’s important to take all of the extra precautions.
Caring for Your Loved One During a Pandemic
Whether you are personally caring for a loved one that has Alzheimer’s or your loved one uses in-home care/ a nursing facility, it’s important that you take all of the necessary precautions to ensure that you keep your loved one safe and healthy. Additionally, make sure that you keep yourself healthy so that you can continue to provide comfort and companionship to your loved one after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
About the Author
Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about things that can help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.