Dementia in itself is not going to pose a greater risk to those who suffer from the condition during the COVID-19 pandemic, but behaviours associated with the disease may make it a challenge, says Livewell Village manager Jonathan Shutte.
Shutte spoke to Joanne Joseph on the Afternoon Drive to share more information on what you can do to take care of your loved one during this time.
Simple things like washing hands becomes an incredibly challenging thing for somebody who has dementia. Staying hydrated is always a continual challenge for someone who has dementia and both of those are obviously very crucial in preventing the spread of this virus.— Jonathan Shutte, Manager - Livewell Village
The disease of dementia is something that progresses over time so depending on where that person is in the disease progression would dictate to an extent the ability that they can understand what is going on around them so I would tread carefully when it comes to explaining the intricate details of what is going on with the coronavirus at this time because we don't want to over panic and add anxiety to people that are already dealing with a very tough disease.— Jonathan Shutte, Manager - Livewell Village
He says if one can obtain repeat prescriptions for months in advance, that would be a good idea.
That is a practical proactive step that families can take. Get those repeats ahead of time to ensure that supply is there.— Jonathan Shutte, Manager - Livewell Village
I would suggest people pay close attention to what is being said by government and in particular the Department of Social Development, which is the department that deals with the elderly. Close attention to the NICD ... as well as the World Health Organisation has proven to be a great resource to put together a proactive plan.— Jonathan Shutte, Manager - Livewell Village
While family will be prohibited from visiting some facilities, including theirs, throughout the lockdown, he has suggested ways to maintain communication.
We have actually shut the facility off to visitors from Wednesday last week just as a proactive measure. This is the most vulnerable population, we cannot take any risks. So, what I would suggest other facilities do is to up the extent of their digital communication - video calls, this is an opportunity where we can really utilise technology to improve communication.— Jonathan Shutte, Manager - Livewell Village
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