Author Bio: Holly has been working in the care industry for 5+ years. She regularly blogs about both the personal and practical challenges of caring and is always actively working on producing informative content. Holly is currently writing for Firstcare.
Taking care of someone with dementia is already a challenging task, let alone during a pandemic. Dementia does not increase the risk of Covid-19, like with any other type of flu. However, dementia-related behaviours can increase the risk of infection. Increased age and other common health conditions triggered by dementia also increase the risk of contracting the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
For instance, someone with dementia may forget that there is a pandemic and that they need social distance. This could put such a person at high risk. Note that if a person with dementia contracts Covid-19, their cognitive impairment may worsen. Therefore, caregivers for people with dementia need to take extra care of the patients and take additional precautions. Most of these caregivers are having a more challenging time achieving this. Below are some tips that could ease the load.
3 Top Tips...
1. Consider the necessary guidelines
For people living with dementia, following the guidelines provided by GOV.UK could be a challenge. Therefore, as a caregiver, it is your responsibility to ensure that they abide by the guidelines which will require you to supervise the person more carefully. Here are a few things that can help you keep them safe:
- Ensure that they're not roaming around without supervision, receiving guests or forgetting to sanitise
- You can place signs around their home to remind them to wash their hands and how to do it
- Try to shield the person from the outside world or the panic about the pandemic
All of these things should help to keep them safe and comfortable whilst adhering to the guidelines. This may take a lot of work on your part. However, it is mandatory because if the person contracts the virus, high chances are that you will too.
2. Look out for the symptoms
In addition to ensuring that all the guidelines are followed, you will need to be on the lookout for the symptoms of Covid-19. The typical symptoms of the virus are:
- A high temperature
- A new continuous cough
- A loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
According to The Brain Charity, people living with dementia may experience additional symptoms such as increased confusion, not wanting to be touched and unusual changes in their body language. Therefore, as a caregiver, if you notice such symptoms, make sure to call a health care provider immediately. It is important not to attempt to go to the emergency room if the person displays symptoms of Covid-19.
3. Plan ahead
During times of such uncertainty, it is wise to plan ahead to avoid stressful situations which could cause distress to both yourself and the person you are caring for living with dementia. Here are a few things you can plan for:
- Medication: To reduce the number of trips you have to make to the pharmacy during the pandemic, you may like to consider asking your GP for more days’ worth of medication. This will also come in handy in case the pharmacy from where you get the medicine is shut down due to the pandemic.
- Alternative arrangements: You can plan by looking for alternatives to the person’s day care and other necessary services. Doing this will come in handy in the case that there are any changes or cancellations due to Coronavirus.
- If you get Covid-19: It would help if you also made alternative plans in case you become unwell with Covid-19 or another illness. This would include arranging a standby or additional caregiver.