By Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Dec. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The coronavirus pandemic makes the vacations much more troublesome for caregivers of family members with Alzheimer’s illness and different kinds of dementia, an skilled says.
“Even in the best of times, holidays can be a mixed bag for families who are caring for a loved one with an age-related illness that causes physical and mental changes. Focus on family togetherness and joy,” mentioned Mary Catherine Lundquist, program director of Care2Caregivers, a peer counseling helpline for caregivers of individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s illness.
The helpline is operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in New Jersey.
“People dealing with significant illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease may be experiencing other feelings, such as sadness, worry and even exhaustion. Sometimes the best gift we can give to each other is to be present,” Lundquist suggested in a Rutgers information launch.
With journey frowned upon due to the pandemic, it might not be potential to see your family in individual. But you possibly can nonetheless attain out. “Check in with your elderly family members, especially those who are caregivers. Ask them how they are doing and then really listen. Be nonjudgmental and acknowledge what they are sharing,” she steered.
“Listen for what they really need, not for what you think they need — and then offer it,” Lundquist mentioned. “Dropping off groceries, fixing a broken fence post, calling a few times a week to just chat may be the best gifts. Writing a letter telling them what you mean to them and how they have impacted your life is a wonderful gift they can read again and again.”
Lundquist additionally provided recommendation on serving to individuals who have a cherished one in a nursing house or who misplaced a cherished one this 12 months.
“Call them to check in, send a handwritten note, drop off flowers or send a text to say ‘thinking of you,’ which can help ease loneliness and social isolation. Let them know that just because their loved one is not in the house with them anymore, they are not forgotten,” she mentioned.
Even if you cannot see folks in individual, join with them over the cellphone, by textual content or by way of social media, Lundquist steered.
The American Academy of Family Physicians presents recommendation on caregiver well being and wellness.
SOURCE: Rutgers University, information launch, Dec. 2, 2020