Coronavirus can compound risk of living with Alzheimer’s

Coronavirus can compound risk of living with Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association has tips on how to take care of your loved ones with dementia during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Source: Pixabay)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Alzheimer’s Association has tips on how to take care of your loved ones with dementia during the COVID-19 outbreak.

While they say dementia doesn’t increase the risk of COVID-19, there are certain behaviors among many with dementia that could impact the risk.

For example, people with dementia may forget to wash their hands or take other precautions to prevent the illness, and a disease like COVID-19 could worsen cognitive impairment caused by dementia.

The association has some tips on how to give proper case to people with dementia at home.

  • For people living with dementia, increased confusion is often the first symptom of any illness. If a person living with dementia shows rapidly increased confusion, contact your health care provider for advice.
  • People living with dementia may need extra and/or written reminders and support to remember important hygienic practices from one day to the next.
  • Consider placing signs in the bathroom and elsewhere to remind people with dementia to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds.
  • Demonstrate thorough hand-washing.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be a quick alternative to hand-washing if the person with dementia cannot get to a sink or wash his/her hands easily.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor about filling prescriptions for a greater number of days to reduce trips to the pharmacy.
  • Think ahead and make alternative plans for the person with dementia should adult day care, respite, etc. be modified or cancelled in response to COVID-19.
  • Think ahead and make alternative plans for care management if the primary caregiver should become sick.

They also have tips for caregivers of those living in assisted living facilities:

  • Check with the facility regarding their procedures for managing COVID-19 risk. Ensure they have your emergency contact information and the information of another family member or friend as a backup.
  • Do not visit your family member if you have any signs or symptoms of illness.
  • Depending on the situation in your local area, facilities may limit or not allow visitors. This is to protect the residents but it can be difficult if you are unable to see your family member.
  • If visitation is not allowed, ask the facility how you can have contact with your family member. Options include telephone calls, video chats or even emails to check in.
  • If your family member is unable to engage in calls or video chats, ask the facility how you can keep in touch with facility staff in order to get updates.

And of course, keep yourself healthy by washing your hands and taking regular precautions to keep yourself from contracting COVID-19. You cannot take care of others if you are sick.

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