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Caring for Dementia at Home During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Caring for Dementia at Home During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Caregiving for a family member with Dementia during the pandemic can undoubtedly add anxiety and additional burden. Lack of access to hired help and limited face-to-face contact with professionals may be adding to the stress of caregiving specifically while caring for Dementia.  

Here are a few frequently asked questions related to taking care for Dementia patients at home, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I help a family member with Dementia follow COVID safety protocols?

  • Explain information related to safety protocols of the pandemic slowly using short sentences. 
  • Provide this information when the person is most alert during the day.
  • Give gentle reminders whenever needed, to help the patient revise the information.
  • Place signs and/or give demonstrations, e.g., to wash/sanitize hands in the bathroom and near the entrance of the house. 
  • New information is confusing for people with Dementia and can often increase irritability. Remember to be patient as they are doing the best they can.

How do I help my family member with Dementia adjust to changes during the pandemic?

  • Maintain a routine and structure to the day as much as possible. 
  • Use a whiteboard or a calendar to display the plan for the day. 
  • Include elements of a healthy lifestyle such as regular personal care, physical exercise, regular times for meals and medication monitoring in the routine. 
  • Inform about the reasons for changes in a factual manner and remember to provide reassurance and comfort to reduce anxiety.  

How to care for Dementia patients at home when they feel lonely and want to go out, how do I help them feel engaged?

  • Use cognitively stimulating activities like reading, playing simple games, music, arts and crafts to help with boredom.
  • If there are school-going children in the family, encourage intergenerational bonding through activities mentioned above. 
  • Connect with friends/family members via videoconferencing/phone calls to improve social engagement.
  • Encourage whole-family conversations, meal-times and games/activities regularly to help all members feel supported and engaged. 

I am worried my family member with Dementia may be stressed out at this time because of the pandemic, how do I ensure that it does not impact their mental health?

  • Reduce exposure to negative information in the news and share relevant and tailored news with them only from authentic sources. 
  • Share some good news from the media with them whenever possible, e.g. about the development of the vaccine.
  • Recollect memories of pleasant experiences, events and trips together which are associated with positive emotions.
  • Engage in hobbies and activities of their interest which are safe to do indoors.

 My family member with Dementia is spending a lot of time sitting or lying down. How can I keep them engaged?

  • Include indoor activities in the routine – Walking and/or stretching in balconies, terraces, and other open areas within the home
  • Engage in cognitively stimulating activities like reading, playing simple games, music, arts and crafts.
  • If there are school-going children in the family, encourage intergenerational bonding through activities 
  • Connect with friends/family members via videoconferencing/phone calls
  • Encourage whole-family conversations, meal-times and games/activities 

My family member wanders out of the house. How can I manage this?

  • Identify if wandering happens more at a particular time of the day.
  • Add activities in the routine which can distract the person at this time.
  • Use a ‘Stop’ sign on doors or cover with a curtain.
  • Seek professional help for regular monitoring of medication.

How can I be prepared for emergencies in the pandemic times?

  • Continue regular online follow up consultations with your healthcare provider
  • Identify family members/friends/neighbors who could help in an emergency and prepare and emergency contact list
  • Prepare a list of important numbers in the event of an emergency, e.g., doctors, ambulance, hospitals; and share this with those who could help along with other relevant tips for Dementia caregivers
  • Discuss treatment plans regularly within your family so everyone is aware while caring for Dementia at home
  • If situation escalates, you may seek help from care homes for Dementia patients

When should I get an online consultation for my family member? 

  • Deterioration in physical health
  • New behaviors that are difficult to manage
  • Increase in intensity of  challenging behaviors
  • Behaviours that put the person with Dementia themselves or others around them in danger.
  • Physically aggressive behavior or wandering that is difficult to manage. 
  • Increased confusion that persists over a few days

Who can I reach out to for help?

Samvedna Care has a team of trained professionals who specialize in Dementia care and elder care. They offer various care plan for elderly with Dementia. The activities of the organization are well researched and highly acknowledged by the medical community. They also offer emergency support services for the time an elderly needs support along with day care for seniors with Dementia. They believe in ‘caring for the carer’, therefore offer counselling for caregivers and families as well.

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Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi