The stress of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and social distancing can take a toll on your physical and mental health. But as a care partner, it’s important to be mindful of how both you and the person you care for are coping. Alzheimer’s San Diego has put together this useful guide to help you stay well, together. For more strategies and free support, call us at 858.492.4400.
Staying healthy together:
- Prepare nutritious meals together. Have the person living with dementia help with some simple aspect of the food prep, or setting the table, if possible.
- Stay well-hydrated throughout the day.
- Go for walks (or strolls, if they use a wheelchair) or just spend time sitting outside. Aim for at least 20 minutes of sunlight daily, when possible. Our skin absorbs UV-B rays and converts it into necessary vitamin D.
- Try exercise/yoga videos. Here is a video of basic exercises and a video made by our instructor Dani of exercises done in our Movement and Motion class. The County of San Diego airs its “Feeling Fit Club” program Monday-Friday at 8 AM and 1 PM on the County News Center station. Check out the schedule by clicking here.
- Limit naps during the day. This will promote better sleep at night.
- Make handwashing a special treat. Find new soaps or lotions with nice smells.
Managing behavioral changes:
- Consider environmental changes that may be causing overstimulation. Play soothing music or adjust the room lighting. Check in to make sure basic needs are being met. This could be what is causing resistance or various emotional reactions.
- Design appropriate activities to reduce wandering. Check out our guide of cognitively stimulating activities that encourage a sense of dignity and accomplishment for you person.
- Consider your communication style. Speak slowly, clearly, and with warmth. Focus on responding to the person’s feelings, rather than their words. Get a healthy activity started, and have them join you.
Mental health considerations:
- Don’t abandon your support. Being in social isolation means that it is that much more important to reach out to your network. Connect with your family, friends, or support group members through phone calls, WhatsApp, social media platforms, or video calls. We are all going through this together. Also, reach out to Alzheimer’s San Diego’s team of social workers! We are still providing vital support through phone counseling and live chat services.
- Be accepting of the psychological changes. You may notice an increase in wandering and behavioral outbursts. These symptoms are common during times of stress. The change in a normal routine might be causing an internal change with your person.
- Try to share simple facts with your person about what is going on. Give clear information about how to reduce your risk of infection in words they would understand. Repeat this information whenever necessary in a concise and respectful way. Memory aids such as writing in a notebook or explaining the situation with pictures could be helpful.
- Practice relaxation through meditation. There are plenty of guided meditation YouTube videos to listen to and recently Calm, a meditation app is offering free meditation videos.
This is just one of our resource guides for managing everyday life caring for someone with dementia. Learn more from our video library or reach out to our dementia experts today by calling 858.492.4400. Click here for updates on our programs, the public health situation in San Diego County, and caregiver resources.