Living with dementia brings everyday challenges for both the person and their carers; Coronavirus makes these everyday challenges even harder. Loneliness and isolation are significant issues for those living with dementia and during COVID-19 restrictions, these feelings are likely to be amplified!
These restrictions, although a necessary step to protect elderly loved ones, is hard for all involved. Family and friends need to be more aware than ever of the physical and mental health of their loved ones, for example whether they are understanding and remembering the measures put in place to protect themselves; such as social distancing and washing their hands.
Glenvale Villas share advice and practical tips for caring for your elderly loved one with dementia during COVID-19 restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic whether they are in their own homes or in a care home environment.
Tips for around the home or in aged care during COVID-19 restrictions:
- Print signs for around the home. Those living with dementia may struggle to remember the current restrictions that are placed upon them. Signs around the home reminding them to practice social distancing, wash their hands regularly, and key contacts to call if they are confused, need anything, or are lonely are important to keep them safe.
- Maintain some level of routine where possible, e.g. dedicate a shopping day once a week, even if you do this shopping online with them. Those living with dementia rely on routine and this is something that has been completely thrown out during the pandemic. Introduce new routines, such as times to wash hands at certain times during the day. If it is part of a routine a person with dementia is more likely to embrace and remember to do it regularly.
- Encourage activities. Those living with dementia need to keep their hands and minds busy and engaged. Keeping them engaged is vital to keeping their mood elevated so invest in activities they can partake in things such as jigsaw puzzles, card games, audiobooks, or podcasts!
- Embrace technology. While some restrictions have been lifted, vistors should be limited to reduce the risk of spreading the virus amongst the elderly and vulnerable population. FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and even phone calls are more important than ever to stay connected! There are heaps of websites that provide an explanation and how-to guides to using this technology. The staff at aged care facilities may be well accustomed to using this technology so have a chat to them and see if you can schedule in a regular Skype session! If it’s all too overwhelming don’t forget about the traditional telephone!
Families and carers need to adapt to caring for the elderly during COVID-19 restrictions, in a way that ensures their safety but is still sensitive to their needs, whether in the same household or from a distance.