No one could have prepared for this pandemic, but everyone can learn to adjust in these times. It is challenging to change, especially when the behaviors of your loved ones are rapidly changing too. The stress of and social distancing can take a toll on your physical and mental health. As a caregiver, it is important to be mindful of how both you and the person you care for are coping.
- Reach out: Find your support. Connect with family, friends, or support group members through phone or video calls. We are all going through this together and having someone to turn to can help to ease the emotional toll of isolation.
- Accept the changes: It is difficult to see the changes, especially when these challenging times may highlight them. You may notice an increase in wandering and behavioral outbursts. These symptoms are common during times of stress. The change in a normal routine can also cause significant behavior changes.
- Share simple facts: Be direct and concise with the facts. Provide clear information in words they understand about how to reduce risk of infection. They may not remember the words but will often retain the message. Repeat this information whenever necessary in a concise and respectful way. Memory aids such as writing in a notebook or explaining the situation with pictures could be helpful.
- Allow moments of space: It is helpful to give yourself a break, even if only for a few moments. Take a walk, read a book, practice meditation, or engage in something that brings you calm and joy. This refresh will be beneficial to both of you.
- Prepare meals: Have the person living with dementia help with some aspect of the meal preparation. Keep them engaged and involved. Don’t forget to eat healthy meals yourself. Preparing ahead of time reduces the chance that you will be too busy to stop and eat.
- Drink water: Staying hydrated is important but sometimes forgotten.
- Spend time outside: Go for a walk or find a bench. Aim for at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight each day, when possible.
- Limit naps: This will help with better sleep at night.
- Make handwashing enticing: Find new soaps with nice smells. Or try singing together while washing your hands.
- Consider stimulation: Environmental changes can cause overstimulation to occur. Play relaxing music or adjust the room lighting.
- Basic needs: Check in to make sure basic needs are being met. This could be what is causing resistance or various emotional reactions.
- Communication style: Speak slowly, clearly, and with warmth. Focus on responding to the person’s feelings, rather than their words. It is important to acknowledge what they are feeling at that moment.
Please feel free to contact us at (704) 573-6838 to see how we can provide support for you and your loved one.