Covid-19 Safety and Dementia Sufferers

This is a scary time for all of us, but it’s particularly tough for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions. For the rest of us, guidelines like “wash your hands for 20 seconds”, “avoid touching your face” and “practice social distancing” inconveniences. But for a person with diminished mental capacity, it may be much more difficult.

If you live with a person with dementia, it’s very important to be particularly vigilant with your own infection protocols, since they likely cannot be as thorough. Wash down countertops with detergent (since many detergents & disinfectant products are in short supply, get some hydrogen peroxide. It works just as well on coronavirus, and is not yet being hoarded) when you bring home groceries. Wipe down doorknobs and car door handles. 

At home, try to turn hand washing into a game with your elderly loved one. Use a soothing voice to explain the situation, and maybe play some gentile music or sing a song while washing hands. Make sure they have plenty of activities to occupy them while at home; group activities are particularly great. 

If your loved one is in a residential facility, call them up and ask what measures they’ve enacted to control the spread of Covid-19. Most facilities will likely have begun restricting guest access, so ask if they have any sort of video conference capability available. Consider building a care package for your loved one, and shipping it to them. Times like these, the instinct is to be with family members, but for the time being your loved ones are best served by keeping people away. This crisis will pass if we all band together. 

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