The coronavirus lockdown has meant extra challenges for all of us. But for older people living with dementia and their carers, the pandemic has been extra stressful. If you’re supporting an older person, even if they receive home care services, these tips are designed to help you look after them and yourself.
Maintain your routine
Sticking to a familiar routine is a good way to maintain a sense of purpose at an uncertain time. Put a daily schedule in place but keep it straightforward. Your routine and your daily tasks should be uncomplicated and easy to manage.
Lockdown might seem like a good time to deal with those tasks you keep putting off. Minimise any disruption by breaking them down into smaller steps, and focus on one task at a time.
A safe and familiar routine can help reassure an older person and reduce any feelings of anxiety.
One of the worries for people living with dementia is that they can lose their independence. Lockdown may have put restrictions on your day to day lives. Keeping active and practising skills can help you both deal more easily with the situation.
Base your choice of activities on the person’s hobbies and interests. That could be doing physical exercise in the garden or keeping mentally active with a favourite puzzle, or learning a new skill.
Making sure you stay connected to those close to you can also help to improve a low mood or cope with feelings of anxiety and stress.
Look out for changes
We’re all aware of coronavirus, but heart disease, diabetes and other health issues haven’t disappeared. If you’re looking after an older person, those conditions still need to be managed. And that could mean that you need to ask for help or engage with respite care for the elderly.
Look out for changes in behaviour, as these could mean an older person has developed delirium. People with dementia who get coronavirus could also develop dementia without any warning signs like a cough or fever. They could become withdrawn, more confused, agitated or sleepy. If an older person with dementia shows any of these changes in behaviour, then contact your doctor immediately.
Look after your general health
It’s essential to have a healthy diet, do regular exercise, and get a good night’s sleep during this time. Purposeful activity can help to deal with feelings of boredom and anxiety until lockdown eases.
If you need dementia home care services or help for the elderly living at home in Ireland during the pandemic, contact us to book a consultation today.