During this time of the COVID 19 pandemic, the care of someone with dementia certainly requires extra patience and vigilance from those who are caring for them.
Obviously, those with dementia are not going to be able to fully grasp what this pandemic is all about that is wreaking havoc over all of our lives.
They need much more consideration, patience, and TIME from us to individually answer their questions and many concerns that they have. They are VERY aware that changes are taking place and they have a right to be given the extra attention needed in order for them to feel safe and secure in spite of these many changes.
So the question is…what can we do as professionals and family caregivers to assist them with this, another moment of confusion in their journey?
Isolation is probably the most difficult change for them. Being isolated from their families and those within their communities that they have developed strong relationships with.
I applaud those of you that I have talked with and brainstormed with on tools we can use to encourage a healthier day for each of them. We know that our body, mind and spirit all must be FIT in order to be COMPLETE.
So, let’s touch on BODY….get them moving….taking walks in areas that are safe….exercising in their rooms. YES, this takes that EXTRA time I was in reference to. Also their physical being. Keep their hair clean and bodies clean. Put that red lipstick on those who WANT it….and for the men (and ladies too sometimes) make sure they are shaven and smell good as if they were going out for the day. Clean clothes and clean bedding. Their room is now their HOME. How do you want YOUR home to be?
What about MIND….when you are with them, take advantage of every opportunity to stimulate their minds. Simple puzzles, word games, songs, music is LIFE…never forget that. BUT HOW ABOUT SIMPLE CONVERSATION. Notice their eye color, the pictures in their rooms, the color of their hair, or what it USE to be. Make every moment possible about THEM…reminiscing about WHERE THEIR HANDS HAVE BEEN IN LIFE.
And their SPIRIT….that reaches deep within their soul and who they are to the core. They are grieving. Never forget that. Those spiritual moments will heal that grief quicker than anything else. Hand out a new inspirational moment quote each morning as you wake them and deliver their breakfast. When you visit again later in the morning….go over that though again. Post it on their bulletin board or mirror in their bathroom. MAKE sure at least twice a week you have someone who is comfortable sharing moments of prayer in song or scripture.
I love to find that SWEET SPOT in their lives….and use that sweet spot to guide them through a day of success. Let me ask you…do you want to be successful at the end of the day? That does not change just because you have dementia. REMEMBER…THEY ARE STILL THERE.