Caring for Someone with Dementia During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Caring for someone with dementia is one of the most challenging things that you may have to undertake in your life; particularly difficult if they are a loved one.

Combining that care with a global pandemic that imposes a range of restrictions on who and how you can contact people can compound how difficult providing that care is, while also causing higher levels of stress than usual on the person with dementia.

And it’s that mixture of restrictions & increased stress that really makes caring for someone with dementia during the coronavirus pandemic an extremely challenging thing to do.

It would be difficult to solve all of the issues that go along with providing this care, but today we’re going to at least cover a few ways in which we can ease the burden of providing that care, and make sure the care that is provided is quality and stable care.

Adhere to the current restrictions

You may (rightfully) be tempted to break lockdown rules, but ultimately you are likely only going to harm the person you are caring for by placing them at an increased level of risk.

Continue to reduce your own risk of infection and the person whom you are providing care to as much as you possibly can by following the safety practices we all now know so well.

What’s important here is that you continue with your normal caregiver regime as much as possible, but adapt to fit in the current restrictions as much as you possibly can; reduce change and maintain the same routine where possible, which in many cases is easier said than done.

If you are completely unable to maintain the same or very similar routine, then create a brand new routine from scratch and make sure that the person who you are caring for with dementia understand there will be a temporary change, if you do decide to create a new routine then:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make the plan available (on a whiteboard or chalkboard for example)
  • Bear in mind good practices such as keeping active

As Jane Byrne from First Care nursing home Dublin commented “As a care home provider, this period has been one of the most challenging in our history, but first and foremost we have adhered to all regulation to keep the people we care for safe and at as reduce risk as possible”

Adapt with technology

Many of the more senior people in our lives have had to quickly adapt to new technology since the start of the pandemic, for both them, and the person trying to teach them new technologies, it’s been tough.

But by now many of our parents and grandparents are happily using smart phone and video calling functions that we couldn’t have dreamt of just one year ago.

So it is possible to adapt, with the aid of technology, and patience.

And just like when it comes to creating a new routine, also keep new technology simple. Only adapting to simple technology will ease stress for both the carer and caregiver, and that’s exactly what SMPL does.

From simple radios that could help to reduce loneliness during periods of isolation to medication alert systems that mean you don’t always have to be there.

Research the technology that can help to take some of the burden while keeping good quality care in place.

Monitoring a change in behaviors

While you’re in the thick of it, it’s very easy to miss changes in the person with dementia that you are caring for.

But this pandemic can lead to heartbreaking changes in the people we care for and love, so it’s important to step back from time to time and consider if the increased isolation or change in routine is causing any changes in the person you are caring for.

It could be something very simple like making sure they are drinking enough and not become dehydrated.

On the other end of the scale a big change in routine could totally change behaviors in someone with dementia so much that they need medical attention and a bigger change in the care they require.

Finally, don’t be afraid of asking for help as this is unchartered territory for all of us. If you are not looking after yourself, providing quality and stable care for someone with dementia is going to be exponentially more difficult, use your network of friends, family and care professionals whenever you can to share the load.

Brought to you by, Technology for Seniors News.