These uncertain times have meant we’re all spending a lot more time at home. But for seniors suffering from memory loss, Alzheimer’s or dementia, staying home may mean disruption in vitally important routines.
“Changes in routines and access can magnify memory loss symptoms,” said Cameo Rogers, Immanuel corporate life enrichment coordinator.
After finding a passion for serving seniors with memory loss, Cameo became a Certified Dementia Practitioner and now teaches Immanuel team members best practices through national-level memory loss programs. She says seniors, especially those with early signs of dementia, can be more at-risk during COVID-19 social distancing. Memory loss symptoms such as repetitive questioning, energy and sleep disruptions, frustrations and overall confusion can increase when normal routines are disrupted.
If you’re concerned about your aging loved one and are unable to support in-person, there are many ways you can help.
- Send a care package with simple puzzles, adult coloring books, healthy snacks and common household supplies.
- Set up grocery delivery services. Be sure to include healthy, easy to grab fruits, vegetables, snacks and even prepared meals.
- Work with a trusted friend or neighbor who lives nearby that can help with checking in.
- Use technology to connect. Preloaded apps can make connecting to loved ones easy. Simple phone calls or window visits also help.
- Assist with routines. Routines are vitally important for someone with memory loss. A change in a well-worn schedule can be a set-back. Help your loved one with a written out schedule or voice recording. You can list out activities they can do during the day and a time when you’ll be calling to check in.
- Ensure there’s consistency in the time of day you call for check-ins. That consistency will solidify a new routine for your loved one.
- Listen and empathize. We’re all feeling a lot of stress during these uncertain times and our loved ones experiencing memory loss are no exception. Further, they may be confused as to why their routines have been disrupted. Be patient as they ask questions. You may need to explain more than once, but every question is an opportunity to connect and provide comfort.
When memory lapses start to significantly impact day-to-day life, it can be a sign your loved one may need more support. For more early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, view this helpful symptoms page from the Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs
And to learn more about supporting your loved ones experiencing memory loss, learn more from Cameo via our Thriving at Home for Seniors video series at Immanueldifference.org.
Memory Support at Immanuel
There is no template for memory care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Instead, we get to know each individual so we can provide activities and attention tailored to their specific needs. This intimate, welcoming approach provides the comfort of familiarity while inspiring creativity and a personal sense of purpose.
Through COVID-19, our memory support teams have been there to provide as much social interaction as is safely possible. We’ve assisted with virtual pen pals, window visits and virtual visits via Zoom and FaceTime. And of course, we’ve provided creative outlets, brain puzzles and games, delivered straight to their door.