The COVID-19 pandemic is more than enough to wear anyone out. The prevention practices alone are exhausting — remembering your mask, disinfecting, social distancing — all those unpleasantries that the responsible among us deal with every day. Add caring for a loved one to the mix and you need to be on alert for caregiver burnout.
No matter your age or physical condition, your body needs to move to stay healthy. Exercise for the elderly is one of the most important means of keeping not just bodies in tip-top shape — it helps keep minds healthy, too. And for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, stimulating the mind is key to slowing down the progress of mental decline, by clearing out amyloid plaques and repairing neural connections, according to recent research.
Many seniors are forced to stay inside their homes during the COVID crisis, due to their increased vulnerability. As U.S. cases continue to skyrocket, so can a growing sense of loneliness, isolation, and despair in these individuals, who cannot interact with the outside world like many others are able to do. These feelings can contribute to severe depression, in which many neurologists state can increase the likelihood of dementia in older patients.
How can we as caretakers help address these difficult emotions in a helpful, constructive way?
It’s time for a spring cleaning! Historically, the spring cleaning ritual was performed to address the dark soot from candles and kerosene lanterns that had built up over the winter months. But today, this yearly ritual can still give your patient or loved one that spring-fresh feeling and uplift their spirits. And it’s healthy for them, too!
In the days of COVID-19, this ritual takes on new importance — deep cleaning to disinfect hidden places the virus may be lurking.
As a caregiver during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have certain responsibilities, the first of which is taking good care of yourself. Before you attend to your patient or loved one, get a reading on your own health. Take your temperature to make sure it falls in the range of normal. If you are showing any signs of respiratory illness, such as shortness of breath, coughing, or sore throat, you will need to self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of possible symptoms when making your assessment.