Caregivers Are Battling on All Fronts to Shield Loved Ones from Pandemic

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by Ray Burow |

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Caregivers are the first line of defense between their loved ones and, well, everything. Like everyone on the planet, our brains are steeped with thoughts of the coronavirus. It’s our job to stand between our loved ones and the communicable disease, but it’s also our responsibility to keep them from becoming overwrought by all the sad and scary news associated with the pandemic.

This is becoming increasingly difficult due to the images we are constantly bombarded with on our TV screens and social media. It’s an issue I’ve discussed in previous columns, but it bears repeating.

Life is changing rapidly as the coronavirus continues its devastating trek around the world and across the United States. Local and federal governments continue to monitor cases of COVID-19, placing restrictions on residents in an effort to curb the trajectory of the disease and slow its transmission.

Keep scary stories on the down-low

At the time of writing this column, citizens are encouraged to shelter in place amid the intermittent swirling of the stock market. Schools, restaurants, and other businesses have closed their doors, but not before panic-stricken customers lined up in grocery stores.

For a person with cognitive issues, images of shoppers stocking up on and hoarding toilet paper — the most prized possession during the pandemic and the butt of social media jokes (pardon the pun) — are more frightening than funny. Additionally, for some elderly patients a tumbling stock market and talk of recession takes them back to 1929, as they relive painful memories of the Great Depression.

Many of our loved ones are unable to process the images or the facts surrounding the coronavirus. People with cognitive issues, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, are unable to understand the crisis we face. The words “worldwide pandemic” strike fear in all of our hearts, but the fear is more palpable for some than others and more troubling for those with cognitive issues. The anxiety it invokes creates inner turmoil that could cause a person to act out in unhealthy ways.

Limit exposure

Caregivers are heeding the warnings. We shelter our loved ones in place, wipe down surfaces, and give attention to hand-washing. But it is also imperative that we limit and even censor the information to which our loved one is exposed. In the current situation, cognitive loss can work in your loved one’s favor. He or she can be blissfully unaware of the imminent danger that has landed on our doorsteps. We can protect them without striking dread in their hearts and minds or reducing them to puddles of tearful uncertainty.

We can do everything within our power to combat COVID-19 in a quiet manner. To avoid the bombardment of strong images, turn off the television when your loved one is present. Limit conversation with them about the pandemic and leave out the scary details. Avoid words and phrases like “worldwide crisis, pandemic, recession, depression.” It is a healthier approach to take when assisting a person with cognitive issues.

In the face of COVID-19, I wish you and your loved one success in the fight. And I wish you good health.


Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.


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