For those who care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia during COVID-19, we want you to know that Terra Vista is here to help. As a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed and concerned about the safety of yourself and those around you. Here are some helpful tips to get you through caregiving during COVID-19.
We’re in this together.
How to Provide Care During COVID-19 Health Crisis
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Every caregiver that is caring for a resident with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia should wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Other recommendations include avoiding touching one’s mouth, eyes, or nose with unwashed hands. It is also important to continue practicing good hand hygiene after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing before the preparation of food, after contact with pets, before and after providing care for another person, and after using the restroom. If you do not have hand soap readily available, apply hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol or higher.
Remind Those With Dementia of Good Hand Hygiene
A caregiver that is providing dementia or Alzheimer’s care should continuously remind their loved one to practice good hygiene. Consider placing written reminders in the bathroom that encourage them to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds. You can also sing the chorus of a loved one’s favorite song for 20 seconds to encourage hand washing while having some fun.
Wear FDA-Approved Masks
Wear a face mask at all times and when deemed appropriate. Most importantly, know what mask is best recommended for you to wear. FDA-cleared surgical masks and procedure masks protect against splashes and sprays and are prioritized for use while performing Alzheimer’s and dementia care activities such as dressing, bathing/showering, providing hygiene, changing linens, assisting with toileting, and more.
Cloth coverings are not considered PPE due to its uncertainty of user protection. However, the CDC has advised the use of cloth masks in helping slow the transmission of the virus when unable to acquire a PPE mask. Surgical or N95 masks may be difficult to find since PPE masks are typically reserved for health care workers. Please remember cloth masks should not be used on those under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove a mask without assistance.
Stay Home or Isolate Yourself When Sick
Caregivers are often so concerned with the health of loved ones, they may forget their own health. Please take the time to be cautious of any and all symptoms regarding COVID-19. Pay attention to flu or pneumonia-like symptoms, sore throat, and loss of smell or taste in yourself and others and report them to a medical professional immediately.
You should isolate yourself from a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia and hire a temporary caregiver while you are recovering. If you are a primary dementia or Alzheimer’s caregiver, think ahead and make alternative plans for your loved one in case you become sick. Please keep in mind that some adult day programs and respite programs have been placed on hold temporarily.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor about filling prescriptions for a greater number of days to reduce trips to the pharmacy. Minimize grocery shopping and essential trips. If you or the person you are caring for has regular doctor’s appointments to manage dementia or other health conditions, call your health care provider to inquire about a telehealth appointment.
As a result of COVID-19, Medicare has recently expanded telehealth benefits to allow seniors to access health care from the safety of their homes.
Clean and Disinfect Home Regularly
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray, wipes, or soap with warm water. Always wear gloves during cleaning, and wash your hands immediately after disposing of them.
Cover Coughs & Sneezes
All caregivers that are caring for a family member or client with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia should use a tissue to cover their cough. Please dispose of the contaminated tissue and wash your hands to protect the health of yourself and your family members. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
This is a rather stressful time, especially when considering the risk of those around you. As a caregiver, in order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. This requires you to seek help if feeling anxious, frustrated, or overwhelmed.
Limit news intake and if you search the internet for news, be very careful about false guidance or claims online. Use the NHS website for credible and most up-to-date information. Remind yourself about the positive aspects of your life, and most importantly, stay active when at home to help fight off boredom and frustration. These are difficult times, but try your best to stay positive—these measures are only temporary.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Services in Oakbrook Terrace, IL
The staff at our Alzheimer’s and dementia assisted living community understands the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia at home. If you are in need of resources to help you during this time, call one of Terra Vista’s memory care experts at (630) 534-0886 or fill out our Contact Form.