COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some of the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals of the coronavirus are the 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease.
There are now 95,000 South Carolinians living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Think about this: if a caregiver were to get sick, who would step in to care for your loved one with dementia? Do you have that person identified? The Alzheimer’s Association advises caregivers and family members to think ahead should they or their loved one with dementia contract the coronavirus.
They also offer some helpful tips to keep your family member safe and healthy.
1) Help people living with Alzheimer’s practice safe hygiene.
That could mean posting a sign in the bathroom reminding that person to wash their hands for 20 seconds since they’re likely to forget if they have or have not done it.
When they walk out of the bathroom, ask them if they did it immediately to make sure.
2) Create a contingency care plan.
It's important to anticipate and prepare for the fact that your current care setup could change if you or another caregiver were to get sick and require treatment and quarantine yourself.
“I think you have to make the decision about contingency plans based around who can dedicate the time and have the least amount of support,” said Taylor Wilson with the Alzheimer’s Association. “You’re going to make that decision based on who can dedicate the most time there and who can potentially stay in that role for the longest amount of time. You’re talking about if someone is hospitalized that’s 2-3 weeks that they may not be able to come home and even when they come home they’re going to need to be taken care of.”
For people struggling through these types of decisions, whether you’re a caretaker or a family member, the Alzheimer’s Association has a hotline you can call. That number is 1-800-272-3900.
There is also an online forum for caregivers to chat about struggles, find support and offer tips.
Just go to alzconnected.org