Tom Meuser, Ph.D., founding director of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health (CEAH), was recently featured on Healthline, a website and resource for health information headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Meuser provided tips and advice on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease during the pandemic brings about challenges, especially given the social distancing measures put in place.
“There’s no perfect solution for anybody these days, but if you are a caregiver for someone with dementia in your home or in a facility, you are facing uncharted territory,” Meuser told Healthline.
He says caregivers should work with patients on having safe hygiene, including hand washing.
“Physical demonstration of the behavior can be helpful where you guide the person by modeling good hygiene yourself,” Meuser said.
He urges caregivers to plan for gaps in care by reaching out to family, friends, and neighbors to assess the potential support you have.
“You might assume that someone in your close network wouldn’t help, but you don’t know until you ask,” he commented.
In order to protect the health of their residents, many facilities are restricting access to outside visitors. Meuser says you should ask care facilities about communication policies.
When explaining the pandemic to a person with Alzheimer’s Meuser says you should try to do it in relatable terms. And he says caregivers should always practice self-care.
“Caring for yourself now is actually caring for your loved one with dementia in the long-term because you want to be in a good place for them emotionally and physically,” he said.