Memory Disorders Program Memo
To our patients and their families:
Thank you for your patience and understanding during difficult times while the entire community and we as research investigators and healthcare providers navigate through uncharted terrain in coping with the Coronavirus pandemic.
We recognize that many people are anxious, and everyone is uncertain about what will happen next and when life will return to normal. We want to reassure our research participants, patients, and families that we consider your health and safety a top priority. To that end, we would like to provide you with guidance and information in caring for a loved one with dementia and yourself during the upcoming weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control has a website with a wealth of information about the Coronavirus and COVID-19. We recommend that you follow CDC guidelines to protect yourself and limit the spread of the virus.
Tips for those caring for loved ones with dementia
People with dementia may lack insight and understanding of critical situations such as this. We suggest that care partners keep conversations about COVID-19 simple because elaborate explanations of the virus and its potential impact could be unnecessarily frightening.
Media and news outlets are bombarding us with news of Coronavirus/COVID-19 twenty-four hours a day. Consider limiting this exposure and engaging in other less stressful and more enjoyable activities such as watching an old movie classic, taking a walk outside, playing cards, listening to music or doing a jigsaw puzzle.
Having dementia is not a risk factor for developing COVID-19, however, people with dementia may exhibit behaviors that could increase their risk of infection or exposing someone else. For example, they may forget to wash their hands or cover their mouths while coughing or may lack awareness of personal space boundaries making social distancing more difficult.
People aged 65 and over are considered to be at high risk for the more serious symptoms of COVID-19. In order to help minimize the risk of infection, elderly people, particularly those who are ill or have chronic medical conditions, should stay at home whenever possible. Visitors should be restricted from entering the home if considered to be at higher risk for infection due to recent travel, fever, or upper respiratory infection. Consider limiting visitors to those who are coming for essential purposes.
The Alzheimer’s Association has tips on how to take care of your loved ones with dementia during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, The John A. Hartford Foundation regularly updates information for older adults, family caregivers, and healthcare providers.
If you wish to speak with a staff member or clinical provider, we are working remotely and can be reached by email or phone.
For general concerns, please message us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will follow up with you in a timely fashion.
Please take care and stay safe!