There’s no question that the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a formidable impact across the globe. We’re all struggling with the implications of this highly contagious virus and what it means for our way of life. For the approximately 50 million people living with dementia, the effects of COVID-19 are likely to be even more pronounced. If your loved one is one of the 1.4 million Americans affected by Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), you may be interested in learning more about how to help him or her through these trying times. Here, we share more about how the pandemic is impacting those with dementia and offer activities to spark much-needed connection:
Changes in Routine May Cause Disruption
Lewy Body Dementia is a progressive disease and those in the mid-to-late stages of LBD often thrive with a predictable daily routine. For many, the pandemic has caused significant disruptions in day-to-day life and has shaken up schedules. For example, care partners coming into the home should wear masks, which may cause anxiety or confusion for individuals with dementia. In some cases, familiar care partners may be asked to stay home themselves, which also alters the routine and may lead to feelings of unrest for those with LBD and other types of dementia.
Lack of Socialization
For many states, shelter-in-place orders have been active for over a month. Socialization is important for all people, but the older population is especially at risk for increased loneliness during this time. If your loved one is accustomed to receiving visitors or attending classes, the “new normal” may be disturbing and upsetting. Since individuals over the age of 65 are most at risk for severe cases of COVID-19, it’s recommended that they stay as isolated as possible. Lack of socialization can exacerbate symptoms of LBD, so it’s crucial to find ways to stay connected.
Tips to Help Your Loved One
Whether your family member is currently struggling with the changes brought by COVID-19 or you’re concerned about this possibility, you can help mitigate the challenges. Although it may take some adjustment at first, there are many online forms of communication that your loved one may grow to enjoy. FaceTime or Zoom calls with familiar faces may become a daily interaction to look forward to. Following along with a gentle form of exercise or yoga class on YouTube may also be an option to incorporate into the schedule. Regardless of the ideas that you choose to implement, be sure to aim for consistency.
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and adapting to a new way of life is a necessary challenge. This is a particularly unsettling time for individuals with dementia and their care partners. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, you may need support and guidance as you navigate this progressive disease. Need a listening ear or assistance in finding resources in your area? We’re here to help. Give us a call any day of the week at 516-218-2026 or reach out via email.