773 E. Haverford Road • Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
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7 Ways to Support Dementia Caregivers During COVID-19

As we've learned over the past several months, older adults and people with chronic conditions or disabilities face disproportionately adverse outcomes if they contract COVID-19. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, family caregivers faced myriad stressors and hardships.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made caregivers' critical jobs even more challenging by adding uncertainty and stress, limiting access to care and complicating service delivery. The pandemic has also added to family caregivers' burdens as they can no longer access the social support of friends and neighbors on whom they typically depend for social interaction and assistance.

Says Crystal Yost, PCHA, PCH, Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, "Family caregivers are the first line of care and defense for loved ones living with dementia and provide critical daily support for them. Therefore, in this unprecedented time in our country, it is essential that we all support family caregivers to help them continue their vital labor of love.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that family and friends can offer support."

For example, you can:

  1. Support the dementia caregiver's emotional needs by staying in touch – Just hearing from you regularly can do wonders for a caregiver who is feeling lonely and isolated. Therefore, try to check in with them daily by phone. Better yet, if they have an iPhone and/or a computer, you can use video chat apps such as FaceTime, Skype and Zoom to make virtual visits. Ask how the caregiver is doing, share your latest news and discuss plans for after the pandemic.
  2. Support the dementia caregiver's basic needs for food, medications and home supplies – You can support the dementia caregiver by running errands for them for groceries, prescriptions and household items or by arranging for these items to be delivered directly to their door. As a result of the pandemic, there are now many food delivery and mail-order pharmacy services available that you can contact online or by phone. Also, restaurant delivery services are an excellent option if the dementia caregiver doesn't feel like cooking.
  3. Support the dementia caregiver's need for some fun – Drop off a good book or a funny movie at their front door. You can also suggest a video chat app to play virtual games together. For example, a Random Trivia Generator is available for free download on the Apple iPhone that can provide hours of trivia fun. Let the caregiver know they can use their computer to access a variety of free movies, TV shows and music on YouTube, NOXX, Vumoo and other sites.
  4. Offer to provide some respite time for the dementia caregiver – If it can be done safely, offer support by "care-sitting" for the caregiver's loved one with dementia. Every hour away from direct caregiving can reduce the caregiver's stress and enable them to decompress and enjoy some much-needed personal time.
  5. Support the dementia caregiver by giving them hope and a sense of optimism – Remind the caregiver that, "This too will pass." Effective treatments are now being used and vaccines are coming soon. The restrictions, social distancing and isolation we've had to live with will be replaced with a more positive future.
  6. Continue to check in with the dementia caregiver to sustain your support – Plan on regular phone calls or video calls. Remember to reach out to the caregiver on days that may be especially difficult, e.g., birthdays and anniversaries. Caregivers of those with dementia often receive substantial support initially and then feel alone as friends and family return to their everyday lives.
  7. Suggest these national resources that support dementia caregivers – The Alzheimer's Association's Tips for dementia caregivers at home,  Emory University's Caregiving in a Time of Coronavirus, and the Family Caregiver Alliance section on Resources and Articles for Family Caregivers all provide links to coronavirus-related resources and articles that will be of interest to caregivers and those in their care.

Crystal adds, You can view information on the steps Impressions Memory Care is taking to protect our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as review the specific details of our COVID-19 prevention plan approved by Pennsylvania Department of Health.

We encourage you to contact us with any questions you have on dementia care or to schedule a virtual tour. Also, we invite you to read our timely blog articles on current caregiver and dementia care topics posted on our website.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “7 Ways to Support Dementia Caregivers During COVID-19,” we'd love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer's disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be "Family" Again.

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer's disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn't only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that's needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It is often difficult to be available to care for your loved one's health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. 

For more information, please call Crystal at 484.380.5403 or contact us online. 

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.