Coping with Dementia Parents During Lockdown
As the pandemic stretches on, many of us are faced with how to care for a loved one during the lockdown. The Centre for Disease Control says that older people have a higher likelihood of critical illness if they contract COVID-19.
As we’ve been told time and again, social distancing is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. But for loved ones with dementia, this means adapting to a new routine and a whole new level of confusion. For you, as their carer, it is daunting and exhausting.
Caring for a loved one at home is a challenge at the best of times. Caring for a loved one with dementia during lockdown is particularly stressful, especially when we consider all the uncertainty around when we will return to some sort of normality.
Besides keeping your family member calm, safe and healthy, you need to look after yourself – mentally and physically – so you can be there when they need you.
Looking after a loved one with dementia in times of Covid-19
Caregiving can be a lonely task.
Add to it an entire family in lockdown, a loved one with dementia, at-home work, school and family demands, the isolation and sheer frustration, and you have a recipe for caregiver burnout.
You may be feeling just as lost and confused as your family member.
There is light ahead, though.
With a few tips and the right tools, you can offer your loved one dignity in dementia, surrounded by that which is familiar to them.
Caring for someone who has dementia
There are a few steps you can take to care for your family member – both now and post-lockdown.
Be mindful of how you phrase things. The person with dementia may battle to process instructions, so something like “wash your hands frequently” can be taken literally. Rather, help them to wash their hands when they’ve touched a parcel or sneezed into their hand.
For everyone confined to home, daily activity is vital. If your dementia charge is able, get him or her moving with you – even if it’s just a walk around the house.
Dish out tasks
You need to attend to your family and work commitments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your loved one with dementia busy, too. Keep them engaged with tasks like folding laundry or washing dishes to keep them active and engaged.
Empower yourself to help your loved one
Primary caregivers are often reluctant to ask for help. But it’sokay to do so. Besides asking friends and family to assist with errands or picking up medication, you can empower yourself to be the best you can for your loved one.
As a caregiver, falling into depression and burnout is common, especially if you feel isolated during the lockdown. But you’renot powerless.
By learning how to cope as a primary caregiver, armed with the right tools and techniques to look after someone with dementia, you can provide the most dignified and comfortable care you can.
Dodging caregiver burnout
There’s a lot on your plate right now. So, don’t lose sight of your wellbeing. Take time out to destress, relax and keep a positive state of mind.
You know you need to limit contact with others for the sake of your health and that of your loved one. When you’re caring for a dementia patient at home, you need to choose one caregiver to provide support. It’s ideally someone who isn’t in a high-risk group and who limits their contact with others. Chances are, that’s you.
Besides helping your beloved dementia sufferer follow medication instructions, encouraging rest and hydration, and keeping them both physically and mentally active, there are a few extra considerations during the pandemic to be aware of.
As the primary caregiver, you should wear the appropriate face coverings and gloves when you come into direct contact with your loved one. Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water, and try to avoid touching your face.
If it’s possible, try to use a separate bathroom and bedroom fromyour family member, especially if you aren’t completely housebound yourself. Avoid sharing personal items, like towels, dishes, phones and bedding.
It’s also up to you, as the chief home-based caregiver to ensure surfaces like toilets, taps, light switches, tables, handles, walking frames and port-a-loos are disinfected regularly.
There’s so much to think about.
When you need respite, there’s always the option of hiring a home-based caregiver who has the skills and experience to take care of your loved one just the way you’d like.
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, and this is truer than ever during the challenges we face during the lockdown. Don’t let it affect how you care for your family member. Gain the skills needed to provide the best possible care you can.
Book a one-day workshop with A-Motus Home-Based Assisted Care and arm yourself with the right homecare tools for your loved ones.