We May Be Isolated But We Can Stay Connected!
Sadly, this is a very frightening time for all of us in our community. COVID-19 is spreading across the U.S. and more cases are reported each and every day. We are being told to stay in our homes as much as we can for our own safety and to try to stop the spread of this very contagious virus! Large numbers of people are working from home on their computers if they are able to as businesses try to stay open. We are only leaving our homes to go out to a store to pick up necessities like food and medicines! While some of us are still able to step outside to get the kids some fresh air or to take the dog for a walk, there are a vast number of people who must stay home.
Changes as people are isolating at home
Especially for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s. All these changes can be very unsettling and confusing for them as the world changes around them and they don’t understand why. They need all of us to be there for them now more than ever.
Helping loved ones who live alone
A large number of people that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are able to live alone for years, especially in the beginning stages of the disease. Under more normal circumstances they can and do thrive with minimal outside help. But now with these new restrictions, they are having a more difficult time. Our loved ones that are home alone need their family and friends to check on them more and to see what they need. They may need someone to do their grocery shopping for them or to arrange the delivery of food and medicine to their homes. They would love phone calls to help keep the loneliness at bay and to let them know they are not forgotten. A card, handwritten letter or a picture drawn by their grandchildren would bring a smile to their face!
If you are home alone please do not be afraid to reach out to your family, friends, neighbors or the community center in your town if you need help in any way. Know that our online community is always here for you to support you in any way we can; you are not alone. Just chatting and checking in can make us all feel more connected. The Alzheimer’s Association is also a wonderful resource for you.
Helping loved ones in advanced stages
As Alzheimer’s progresses and our loved ones sadly decline both physically and mentally, they often can no longer live alone without help. Often one spouse will care for the other spouse. Sometimes they may move in with their children or their children move back home to take care of them. There are countless ways we care for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s under normal circumstances. But this current crisis is causing a large amount of added stress and anxiety to all of our families as we are more isolated and practice social distancing. These changes to their daily routine are very confusing to our loved ones with Alzheimer’s and may cause changes in their behavior. Try to keep their daily routine as consistent as possible to ease their stress.
Our loved ones will be sad and missing other family and friends who don’t live with them. What can we do to help them feel connected? We can show them pictures and share stories about the people they are missing! We can FaceTime their loved ones so they can see their smiling faces! We can call their loved one on the phone so they can hear their voice! Family and friends can drive-by the house to wave hello safely from their car and drop off a care package in the garage, maybe groceries or a treat!
Staying connected with loved ones in residential facilities
Many of our loved ones with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s live in a nursing home or memory care center. Sadly during this crisis, no one is allowed to visit as they have been isolated to protect them from this disease. It is heartbreaking for all. They are missing us and we are missing them. Our loved ones are feeling lonely and forgotten with no one visiting them and they don’t understand why. What can we do to help them know they are loved and not forgotten? We can call them daily to let them know we are thinking of them. We can mail them pictures of their loved ones for their caring nurses aid to show them. Maybe some pictures in frames they can display on their bedside table to look at every day. We can send them cards and letters. We can send them a plant or flowers to enjoy.
Now more than ever we need our online community to keep us connected to each other. We are stronger together! We will make it through this time of isolation together.
Do you have an in-home professional caregiver?