Life Options for Seniors
Pandemic Stress Tips for Caregiver
The Virus COVID 19 has had a devastating impact on our society, bringing economic, financial, and mental trauma to everyone. Still, the daily damage created by Covid-19 is at its most dangerous in the lives of the elderly, especially for people living with Dementia. The Virus has force people out of their daily routine, into isolation, frustration, and loneliness.
According to a recent survey by the Alzheimer's Society, a third of people with Dementia are experiencing apathy and say they "feel like giving up" due to the stress of the coronavirus lock down. The survey found that nearly half of respondents said the lock down has caused their mental health to suffer.
Apathetic feelings often accompany Dementia, but the only way to truly understand the behaviors of someone living with Dementia is to investigate what's going on in their minds: Why is this person behaving this way? What are they trying to tell us? Is the environment too noisy? Are they sleeping well?
Apathy can present as irritability, acting out with sometimes verbal abuse, anger, angry outbursts. Still, during the pandemic, these feelings of apathy may be connected to the distress that comes with isolation, a change of routine, and other stressors associated with the coronavirus.
There are many excellent tips online to help caregivers and people living with Dementia mitigate some of this lock down stress. Here are a few that we thought we very helpful.
Find Ways to Spend Time with Others, Even Remotely
Complying with pandemic safety measures requires isolation, and that's no good. Loneliness has not only been linked to increased dementia risk — it can also increase stress and so worsen symptoms for people living with dementia. We need to interact and engage and create meaningful experiences with each other safely in person or online.
Try to Maintain a Daily Routine
Everyone's different, so even if someone has the same diagnosis, it will affect them differently, and that's based on their personality and life experiences. But for many people living with Dementia, a break in routine or a lack of structure can cause distress and exacerbate symptoms. Setting up and maintaining a daily routine can help the loved one in your care to stay calm and reduce agitation.
Maintain a Calm Environment
For a person with Dementia, it can help minimize their confusion and help them to concentrate and rest. To create a soothing, calm environment, look at the household routine, the noise levels, the lighting, the effects of mirrors, the state of the bedroom, and even the colors and patterns used throughout the house. It's also crucial to know that Information overload can be stressful, and constant talk of COVID can be draining for all of us.
Try to Keep Active
Staying active has many benefits for everyone, including people who have any Dementia. Maintaining social distance has created many obstacles for caregivers, but keep in mind activities do not need to be complicated; try chair yoga, a walk around the neighborhood, Wii bowling, anything that can create a sense of enjoyment and achievement.
Try to Take Care of Yourself
We understand how difficult this is, especially for family caregivers with very little time in their hands, but you must take care of yourself. To be a good caregiver, you must be good to yourself. Try to make a little time for yourself each day. Enlist the help of family and friends if you can. Even a 10-minute break can help you to reboot when circumstances are threatening to overwhelm you.