Caring for Adults with Dementia During the Pandemic
The good news is that dementia is not a direct risk factor for COVID-19 (coronavirus). The not-so-good news is that behaviors associated with dementia, combined with age and other common health issues in older adults, may inflate risk.
People with dementia tend to forget personal hygiene habits like washing their hands, which can be crucial to preventing the coronavirus and other illnesses. Since reputable assisted living communities are open and successfully navigating the challenges of COVID-19, it’s important for dementia caregivers to take extra precautions while keeping up with the best memory care practices. If your family member has dementia, please read the tips below for new precautions to take during the pandemic.
COVID-19 tips for dementia caregivers and family members
- Write notes daily to remind people with dementia of essential hygiene habits. Post them in the bathroom, by the kitchen sink, etc. to instruct them to wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Make alcohol-based hand sanitizer readily available. It can be a simple alternative if the person with dementia cannot easily get to a sink to wash their hands.
- Ask their doctor about filling prescriptions for the maximum amount of time to cut down on pharmacy trips.
- Prepare ahead of time and make a “plan B” for your family member’s memory care. This is just in case you should become sick, and your family member with dementia is left without proper care.
If your family member with dementia lives in an assisted living community…
- Most (if not all) assisted living communities will have had some COVID-19 cases by now. The key is to look at the progress made since the coronavirus pandemic began. Check with the community regarding their safety protocols for managing COVID-19 risk, including in memory care. For more information regarding our industry-leading standard of infection control, cleanliness, and hygiene regarding the coronavirus, please visit our UNITEDforSAFETY page.
- Make sure the assisted living community has your current emergency contact information and the contact information of another family member or friend as backup.
- If you are showing any signs or feeling symptoms related to COVID-19, immediately refrain from visiting. Instead, ask the community about alternate ways of contacting your family member. Most communities offer video chat options like Zoom or Skype to connect virtually.
- If you are well enough to visit, it could prove helpful for them to see a familiar face more often. Check in with the assisted living community regarding the protocols of outdoor visitation or limited indoor visitation.
Safe memory care at United Methodist Communities
Our memory care program, Tapestries®, is available in all four assisted living locations: Collingswood, Pitman, Bristol Glen and The Shores. Tapestries® focuses on the cognitive strengths of each resident, while our professional associates manage the new challenges that come with dementia. Families considering memory care during COVID-19, can have confidence in UMC’s health and safety procedures for residents, associates, and visitors. UMC is combining these new protocols with best practices in memory care to help ensure dementia residents are safe during the pandemic, as well as after it passes.
If your family member suffers from early stages of dementia, please contact UMC at Collingswood in Camden County to find out how we can effectively meet their needs. To learn more about our Tapestries® programs across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities today.