Dementia Care Practice Recommendations
Professional caregivers are essential for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia, ensuring that their condition, safety and health are monitored while providing the stability and daily care needed to live a dignified and full life. In emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers face additional challenges to the delivery of these essential services.
Currently, there is no connection between dementia conditions and an increased risk of COVID-19. However, many residents with dementia have other high-risk health conditions like diabetes and hypertension and may struggle with the routines that help prevent transmission of COVID-19. Here are some tips and advice on managing this crisis effectively as a dementia caregiver, from our team specializing in memory care at the Jersey Shore:
- Increase reminders and assistance with hand washing, including implementing a handwashing schedule.
- Remind residents to cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
- Stay at home whenever possible and limit physical contact with other people.
- Follow social distancing recommendations when out of the home.
- Exercise and do other activities outdoors away from other people.
- Avoid group activities.
- Don’t share items like toiletries, food, etc.
- Take medications properly at all times.
- Choose telemedicine consultations over in-person doctor’s visits when needed.
Planning for the future is especially important during emergency situations like COVID-19 in order to ensure that treatment wishes are clear, legally documented, and well-known by all members of the care team as well as family members.
This is a good time to clarify a resident’s advanced directives with the whole medical team (if they’re in a memory care community) as well as by communicating with family members and caregivers. If a resident does not have a legal advanced directive, it is beneficial to have the resident and family put one in place.
All POLST (Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), health care proxy and other important legal documents should be up-to-date with current wishes and physician orders should comply with these.
Caregiving for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents require a uniquely advanced skillset that professional aides and interdisciplinary teams can provide. Central to its success is putting the resident before the task and understanding them on a personal level. During the current situation, caregivers need to put additional effort into:
- Providing a consistent routine.
- Understanding the possible personal underlying causes behind the dementia-related behaviors: pain, hunger, fear, overstimulation, changes in environment or routine, frustration, confusion (especially due to the presence of PPE like masks, gowns, visors, etc.).
- Validating the resident’s emotions, focusing on the feeling they are expressing rather than their behavior.
- Helping to reduce stress and overstimulation by bringing in a sense of calm, reassurance, and reliability rather than communicating the stress and fear of the pandemic.
- Being aware of past traumas, especially for veterans, survivors of abuse and survivors of trauma.
- Following CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid-19 to seniors. Good resources include the CDC Older Persons Checklist and guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in assisted living.
Higher quality treatment and more effective care result when caregivers know their residents’ habits, preferences, personal history and current condition.
Personalized, Professional Care – Memory Care at the Jersey Shore
The Shores is a United Methodist Community assisted living community offering dementia care and hospice care in the Jersey Shore area. Our priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to protect the wellbeing and health of our residents and staff by delivering exceptional frontline care based on expert health care guidelines, as well as compassion, dedication and personalized care.
Our community specializes in memory care at the Jersey Shore, providing tailored care for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents. From monitoring and intervention, our memory care residence is designed for the cognitive needs of these seniors.
To find out more about how we are working to support and safeguard the seniors in our care through this pandemic, contact us today.