The Triple Whammy: Covid, Memory Care, and the Holidays
Like the rest of 2020, the holiday season that wraps it all up will be challenging for all of us. Even more so for those with loved ones in a memory care community … during a pandemic! Drawn from an excellent (but longer) article posted on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, here are a few quick tips that will make this daunting triple whammy easier. Visit alz.org/help-support/resources/holidays for the entire article.
- Care for yourself: This year, that tried-and-true saying about caring for yourself so you can for others is more important than ever. You’ve made the list, right? So whether it’s candlelight baths, your favorite music, or playing with the family pet, be sure to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, because … well, you know why.
- Adjust your expectations: Be realistic about what you can, and cannot, do this season and then make a plan. Find a way (by phone, email, zoom, skype or other tech device) to have a conversation with family and friends. That way, you can inform them of your plans in advance (so they can adjust their expectations!), and tell them about your loved one’s current condition, whether they can visit or not, changes they might notice, and the importance of safety precautions.
- Celebrate while physical distancing: Remember to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and any person who is not a member of your household. You can still bake and share your favorite holiday treats; just package them and drop them off in a way that avoids contact, such as leaving them at the front desk of the community. You can also make and mail holiday cards, and encourage other family members to do the same.
- Connect through technology: Use video to capture and share special moments, such as children opening gifts. You can show them to your loved one at your next physically distanced visit. Ask a staff member to help your loved one receive a video call. If that’s not possible, a simple audio phone call can convey a lot.
- Keep current with rules: Be sure to check on the visiting policies at your memory care community; there might be new rules if the “tier color” has changed, or adjustments have been made especially for the season. Knowing what the most current policies are will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises or disappointments, and help you discover new ways to share the holiday with your loved one.
- Reach out for help: The Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 helpline. “No question is too big or too small” they say, so please reach out for expert help and calming advice during this time. Here’s the number: 800-272-3900.
Stay safe, stay well, and remember to pause and enjoy the season—however different it might be. # # #