June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month -- an opportunity to discuss the fact that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are a major public health issue. Pressing considerations of COVID-19 in memory care communities for aging loved ones are more present than ever. This month, we recognize the importance of education and support in providing needs for people living with dementia and their loved ones.
Currently in the US, 35% of all Covid-19 deaths are related to assisted living and nursing home residents and workers. While Alzheimer’s Disease does not increase the risk of a COVID-19 infection, increased age and associated health conditions such as dementia may pose a risk. The collaboration between caregivers, family members, and loved ones is essential in offering additional reminders in taking necessary precautions.
However, these precautions pose particular challenges for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease. In an interview with P&T Community, Angela Olea of Assisted Living Locators CEO, RN commented, “For those with loved ones battling Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia at home during COVID-19, this may be an extremely challenging time.” The reality that many relatives cannot visit their loved ones in an assisted living or in a nursing home has been devastating, as discussed in an NPR interview. The importance of regular updates from workers caring for the patient, along with phone calls or video chats, has been discussed among family members. Promoting brain health during a global pandemic is a challenging but necessary course of action during this time.
The Covid-19 outbreak has shown a huge need in proactive prevention rather than reactive measures. Our systems of predicting early stage agitation can improve testing, contact tracing, and proactive preparedness at a very early stage. EIS is joining advocates, volunteers, health professionals, caregivers, and family members to wear purple and fight Alzheimer’s disease this June.