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Tips for Alzheimer's patients during pandemic

Posted: 4:37 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 19:06:59-04
Alzheimer's association

CLEVELAND — Our most venerable are the ones suffering the greatest.

"Certainly the social distancing is a very big issue for them as we are told to stay apart from one another,” said Nancy Udelson, President and CEO of the Cleveland area chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Udelson says caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and dementia should pay extra attention to their loved ones right now.

"We know that many people as they advance in the disease aren’t able to communicate as well as they used to or as well as they should when they’re to feeling well,” she said.

Udelson also says families need a backup plan.

"What happens if the caregiver is the only caregiver and they get sick? And it doesn’t have to be the virus, it could be the flu, it could be a terrible cold so we want our caregivers to be prepared,” said Udelson.

Family members who can’t visit right now, especially if their loved ones are in nursing homes, know that a little technology goes a long way.

"Some of the nursing homes, long term care facilities, assisted living facilities are using the same technology we are, FaceTime, Skype something similar,” said Udelson.

She says caretakers and patients are likely incredibly stressed right now, so do what you can at home.

"If your person’s able to play a board game, look at old photos, just something to reduce the anxiety and the stress,” said Udelson.

She advises to also use the resources the Alzheimer’s Association has to offer.

"We’ve converted all of our in-person support groups that meet regularly once a month to virtual support groups,” she said.

Udleson says their helpline is the best resource (800) 272-3900.

"Our staff are available 24/7 everyday of the week and we are noticing calls are coming in at a little greater number than usual,” she said.