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COVID-19 creates unique challenges for people with Alzheimer’s

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – While COVID-19 threatens the health of millions around the world, the virus creates unique challenges for those living with Alzheimer’s.

For many, the disease needs around the clock care. However, the requirement of social distancing during the coronavirus crisis makes it hard for caregivers to do their necessary jobs.

“We’re asking, or maybe recommending, that there be more than one caregiver option. Of course, you don’t want to call a random person but maybe someone in the family can relieve you to give you a little bit of a break,” explained Teresa Morris, program director of the Alzheimer’s Association WV Chapter.

However, the Alzheimer’s Association is recommending tips on how to create a safer environment for both the patient and caregiver. For example, practicing safe hygiene is key. Caregivers are encouraged to be extra vigilant in helping individuals wash their hands.

Additionally, families should anticipate that their current level of care may change. Plan ahead while less help may be available.

Lastly, ask care facilities about their communication policies. Since outside visitors are not allowed, ask how you can best get in touch with your loved ones.

“Just try to keep their life as normal as possible. You may want to try and keep them extra busy right now in terms of watching different TV, puzzles, and maybe helping you with laundry like folding socks, folding towels. Those types of things.” said Morris.

The Alzheimer’s Association is offering virtual support groups during this time. For more information, click here. Or you can call their 24/7 helpline: 800-272-3900.

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