Living through the crisis of a pandemic can be hard enough for the average person, let alone someone who has dementia.
For those with memory loss, the COVID-19 pandemic may increase their confusion and behaviors and make it difficult for them to adapt to changes in their environment.
Because of the increased impact on residents who have dementia, Good Samaritan Society staff members have shifted their care practices.
“They’re trying to keep things as normal as possible. They have to do some things differently in order to enhance residents’ well-being while following safety practices,” says Michelle Kutner, a social services consultant for the Good Samaritan Society.
Establishing a comfort zone
Part of establishing normal routines involves the use of consistent caregivers and finding different ways to help residents.
In addition to saying who they are or showing their picture, caregivers have also found that if they stand a safe distance away and briefly take off their masks to show the resident their face, this helps with recognition.
Michelle says meaningful conversations are the goal when caregivers and residents talk. The best conversations happen when residents can talk about subjects they like.
If a resident is questioning something the caregiver is doing based on the pandemic, the caregiver should provide a simple verbal and/or written explanation why they are doing things differently to help support the resident.
During any conversation, the priority is supporting residents no matter what emotion they’re experiencing.