Understanding Dementia- during social distancing

Written on: April 1, 2020

Caring for a loved one with dementia in an era of social distancing is causing distress for many people accustomed to visiting their loved ones whenever they wish. Care facilities are assisting families and other caregivers by helping out with video calls, sending photos, and providing frequent status updates.

You may not be able to visit your loved one, but you can let them know you are thinking of them by sending cards or dropping off small gifts such as individually wrapped candies, or snack packs.

On the other hand, for those caring for someone at home, limiting visitors is a challenge when the extra help and friendly visits are greatly appreciated.

Be gentle but firm with anyone feeling the least bit ill by letting them know you are simply protecting your household from a disease (COVID-19, seasonal flu, or cold) that might leave the caregivers ill. Using the same techniques as the facilities, you can video chat grandma in, or send pictures to extended family and update the regular visitors by phone. That little bit of human contact is good for the caregiver also!

Going for walks or other forms of solo exercise, staying hydrated, eating healthy foods are things we should all be doing anyway, but perhaps more so right now!


Feature photo courtesy of Alexander Dummer/Unsplash


2 thoughts on “Understanding Dementia- during social distancing

  1. Mary Ellen Banks says:

    I live near Harrisburg, PA, and my 96 yo Mother is in a care facility a little north of Syracuse, NY. I have visited her twice a month for over 2 years. I made it up for her Leap Year Birthday, and on March 9 her facility closed the doors to all visitors.
    I have routinely mailed her (and her identical twin!) cards every week for nearly 3 years. So, we are both keeping our Social Distance at present. My mother has dementia and no concept of time it seems, so it is I the more distressed at the loss of our visits with each other. I am widowed as of Sept 2017, and this is the first time since then, that I’ve really noticed the quiet of a household of One. Fortunately, I’ve the ability to amuse myself: telephone chats, FB contacts, reading, knitting, & gardening and in addition to my mother and aunt, I send notes and cards to about 8 other elderly people on a regular basis. Being a nurse and a psychologist, I get lots of calls from friends, acquaintances, and family about COVID-19, so I fill the day with new learning as I delve into the CDC, WHO, etc resources about the pandemic.
    If anyone as read this far, Be Well and Stay Home…absence makes the heart grow fonder…..

    1. Maryellen Glackin says:

      Thank you for your kindnesses to so many, including your Mom and Aunt. These are difficult days for those so accustomed to visiting their loved ones. Our Sisters miss their visitors, and those who visit them are feeling the loss, also. Be well!

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