Dementia, expressed to varying degrees in each person, impairs memory due to neurological deterioration. This disease is difficult to deal with in the best of times, but the spread of the novel Coronavirus further complicates dementia patients’ care. To know how and what measures to take in response, read these dementia care tips during COVID-19.
Maintaining cleanliness is a struggle for people who care for those with dementia. As the Coronavirus infects more people and poses a threat to the very same people who have dementia—seniors—cleanliness becomes much more important. If a person comes into contact with the pathogen and forgets to wash their hands, their life is in danger. To address this, be consistent and creative about sanitation. Remind the people you care for to wash their hands after leaving their homes, post signs on the bathroom mirrors and doors, and repeatedly model proper hand washing and disinfecting.
In addition, keeping people with dementia clean and free from infection prevents other potential health issues that could necessitate medical care. For example, when caring for those with Alzheimer’s and bladder leakage, it’s important to prevent skin infections by regularly using and changing incontinence pads. These methods reduce the chance someone will need medical attention that they either cannot obtain or can only do so at the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Be Aware of Their Whereabouts
People with dementia sometimes wander from their home or care facility and risk an accident. Compounded onto this is the possibility that they may encounter someone carrying Coronavirus as they wander. Because of the added stakes, another dementia care tip during COVID-19 is to keep an eye on them throughout the day. Don’t leave them be, especially if they have a history of leaving the house by themselves. If you worry about them leaving, position yourself near the exits they may use if they were to wander off.
Take Care of Yourself
As people practice distance, you may be staying in one spot with a loved one or patient with dementia for some time. While this is an opportunity to spend time together, this time can also be very draining, particularly amidst other anxieties you may have about the situation. Practice proper self-care, and maybe delegate your supervision duties to another trusted person as you spend some time alone. Talk to other people, even if that requires a phone call. You’ll only be able to properly care for someone with dementia if you pay attention to your own condition throughout this unprecedented pandemic.