Dementia and COVID recommendations propose a unique problem. Add in hearing loss and you really have a challenge with COVID masks. Many places throughout the world have a mandatory face mask policy for all public places. This includes public transport, shopping areas, and any other indoor public spaces.
This can be difficult when you are caring for people with dementia. Dementia and COVID is a difficult combination. Made even worse, is people with dementia and hearing loss. They may not understand why they have to wear a mask. It can be even more difficult trying to explain if they can’t hear you. Put together hearing loss, dementia, and COVID and you have a recipe for disaster.
There are exemptions to the mandatory masks, but extra precautions should be taken. If the person can not physically put on their mask or if they will not leave it on. Perhaps wearing it causes them distress, or if they need to read lips to understand what is being said.
Behind The Mask- Dementia and COVID
As a carer, wearing a mask when working with a person with dementia may add to their confusion. It makes it more difficult to be understood. It can also cause distress for the patient if they do not recognize you. Let’s face it dementia and COVID masks do not go hand in hand.
When communicating, use short sentences. Make sure you use hand gestures and very simple phrases. You need to say things clearly and slowly. Perhaps say things a bit louder and be mindful to be patient.
Staying calm will help you communicate and not agitate your patient. All of your communication skills will be called on, but just a bit bigger. If that isn’t working, try writing things down.
For the person with dementia, it can be difficult to get them to wear a mask. If they don’t understand what is going on, you need to focus on the other precautions outlined.
They need to stay away from the public and other people. You don’t want them to be exposed to the virus, so that means they may be feeling lonely. It will mean no regular activities or social gatherings.
It can also be very difficult to enforce hand washing and not touching their faces. They may pull their mask off, touching their face as they do so. They may need constant reminding and prompting to wash their hands.
Not being able to socialize and see family members will be stressful for someone who doesn’t understand why. For those living in assisted living homes, it’s vital they are protected.
While it will be difficult, people will need to be masked or distanced from the general population. They need to be protected but they likely may have a difficult time understanding why.
This is a difficult time for all medical staff as they and resources are pushed to the limit. There are shortages of carers and supplies, yet the virus keeps coming.
Keeping people protected is going to be much more difficult. With dementia patients, in particular, those who are hard of hearing, it will be a constant challenge.
Solution for Hearing Loss, Dementia and COVID – Clear Masks For Carers
A clear mask that covers the nose and mouth is a great way to keep communications open. A clear face mask can also reduce the confusion for the dementia patient as they are not quite as noticeable.
Caregivers can much more easily communicate if the other person can see their faces. The carer is still protected and able to better communicate. The patient will be able to recognize their carer.
A clear mask will help keep communication open. Carers may still need to speak clearly and slightly louder. It is a good idea to include gestures, facial expressions, and guidance.
Caring for someone with dementia and who is hard of hearing is already challenging. But trying to communicate through the mask will make it much more difficult.
Hearing Loss, Dementia and COVID
Hearing loss can have a big impact on your mental health. Older people may start to withdraw, stop socializing, and communicating. Even those with hearing aids can find it difficult.
Hearing aids tend to pick up all sounds in the room at the same level. While the patient can hear better, they may have difficultly sorting out one noise from the other.
This often leads to people declining social functions simply because they can’t enjoy themselves. They simply give up, stop socializing, and stop relying on the hearing aid altogether.
This can lead to depression and worsening health. A study from John Hopkins University found people with severe hearing loss may be five times more likely to develop dementia. Furthermore, it is common for people with dementia to have hearing loss. Therefore dementia and COVID is a challenging problem.
Memory Care Homes- Caring For Dementia and COVID
Taking on the care of your loved one with dementia is already a challenge. In these times of COVID, you need to worry about yourself, their best care, and your whole family.
Memory care homes are far better equipped to handle these situations. They have the care staff and the ability to help your loved one where you may not. Why not let the professionals help you. You already have enough to worry about.
Memory care homes have trained and experienced staff to take care of all their needs. Get the peace of mind for the entire family when you trust your loved one to a memory care home.
The staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!