Dementia

How to protect your loved ones during COVID-19

Published on 20 Jul 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic still under way, seniors are encouraged to stay in due to their vulnerability to complications from an infection. Seniors with dementia may face difficulty understanding the need to stay home, as the ‘new normal’ disrupts their routines and can become disorienting for them.

Caring for people with dementia can also become tricky for caregivers if they do not have a care plan in place. How can we best help them and ourselves tide over difficult times? To make things easier, here are some guidelines for caregivers to follow:

Share what COVID is about.

  1. Explain COVID-19 simply by using visual aids such as posters with informative pictures, or even videos in a language they are familiar with.
  2. Try not to overload them with information. Ask questions, and take the time to listen to their concerns.
  3. Reassure them that you are there to support them.

Guide them to a new normal

  1. Help with creating new routines by engaging them in other activities at home.
  2. Here are some caregiver activities for seniors in our Resources section
  3. Engaging in activities can help to distract them from all the changes, and keep their mind stimulated.
  4. Write out a new schedule on a whiteboard to plan the days and help your loved ones keep track of the new routines.

Keep a clean and well-ventilated environment for them

  1. Cleaning and disinfecting common surfaces helps to keep seniors feeling clean and comfortable.
  2. Increased ventilation within your home can reduce the chances of COVID-19 infection. Open your windows and turn on the fan to promote good fresh air circulation.

Check in on them

  1. Observe your loved ones for signs of stress as they may not be able to articulate their feelings or needs well.
  2. Reassure them often and chat with them about their feelings.
  3. Monitor them for any symptoms of COVID-19 by taking temperatures twice daily and remind them to wash their hands.

What happens if you or other caregivers in the home fall sick or need to be away for an extended period of time? Preparation is key to avoid last-minute scrambling during an emergency. Here is a checklist to help you get started on creating a backup plan.

Seeking help from others is a completely viable option for caregivers, especially as it becomes more challenging to adapt to caregiving through a “new normal”. In times of need, do not be afraid to reach out to your loved ones or neighbours for help.

There are also many organisations and services that can provide support. The Alzheimer’s Disease Association is an excellent place to learn more about how to care for seniors living with dementia, especially during this period.

You can also apply for SPOC-19 to better support yourself and your senior. With SPOC-19, the public and ground enforcement authorities will be able to recognise that your senior has dementia, and can offer appropriate assistance for them.

Hang in there, and remember that you are not alone during this period!

Download our free Dementia Resource
Understanding Dementia – click here for free PDF Download

NTUC Health Services for Dementia
You may visit the NTUC Health website to find out more information on our services. Services such as Home Personal Care Services and Dementia Care at our Day Centres for Seniors are some options that provide care for people living with dementia.

You may also call NTUC Health at 6590 4300.

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