Help for Alzheimer’s caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic

MARQUETTE COUNTY — The majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease also tend to be in higher risk categories for contracting COVID-19, whether that’s due to age or preexisting health conditions. Because of this, they are affected by the coronavirus pandemic in a variety of ways.

Families are usually the first line of defense for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia-related disease. But with social distancing orders in place, it can be much harder for them to get the care and help they need. Additionally, they might not be getting the social interaction they’re used to.

Sundi Taylor with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Michigan Chapter says it can also be challenging for people with these diseases to stay healthy and practice preventative measures.

“For people that are having memory loss, that’s always something that’s difficult to begin with,” said Taylor, “so asking them to do a little extra is going to be really tricky for some people. Reading sanitation bottles, how to mix chemicals, that can be really difficult for some people, and then the change in routine. When people have changes in routine, that’s going to increase stress and maybe cause more difficult behaviors and sleep issues.”

“Obviously we like people to continue to stay educated the best that they can,” said Taylor. “So always watching what the CDC puts out, going to the website, doing any sort of support groups or additional training. Anything that they can get their hands on that’s going to help increase their awareness of what’s going on in the community, I think that’s going to be the best line of defense.”

The Alzheimer’s Association is still providing their services online or by phone, free education, support groups, tips for caregivers, and more. Those resources can be found on the Alzheimer’s Association website or through the official Facebook page. A 24/7 helpline is also available for anyone with questions or in need of assistance at (800) 272-3900.