People with a diagnosis of dementia are especially at-risk during lockdown because they are forced into greater social isolation than usual. The social isolation can worsen their symptoms. If you have a family member who is diagnosed with dementia, please try and speak with them every day. If you can assist them in using WhatsApp video calls please do, otherwise a usual telephone call is enough. Encourage them to keep busy during the day e.g. playing solitaire, hangman, Sudoku, or crossword puzzles.
If your family member with dementia is staying with you during lockdown, this can be challenging at times. One of the biggest challenges frequently revolves around meals and taking medication. When it comes to mealtimes, if your family member can, try and involve them in preparing meals. Shift the focus away from eating food to the social aspect of eating. For many people this is going to mean, not sitting in front of the TV for meals but rather sitting down as a family at the dining room table for meals. Eating smaller meals, more frequently can be helpful as well as not drinking too much tea during the day as it can leave your family member feeling full. Another tip is not to ask your family member if they are hungry but rather tell them that you are now eating. This takes a lot of anxiety away from the person who is diagnosed with dementia.
Certain medications can worsen the symptoms of dementia and may not be necessary. Having a tele consult about medication can be helpful in identifying which medication is non-essential.
If you need assistance in creating a routine for your family member with dementia please contact Jean Trusler, firstname.lastname@example.org