28 Years of Boutique Assisted Living

#1 In Elderly Care For DC, MD & VA

Flexible Hours

Tours 7 Days a Week

Email Address

info@alfredhouse.com

Mental Health and Dementia during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mental Health

Mental Health and Dementia during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In last month’s newsletter we discussed the effects of stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the elderly who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In this newsletter, we examine a closely related problem: mental health. As the pandemic has advanced, we have been hearing more and more about the mental health crisis that has been precipitated by the spread of the virus itself and the living conditions that have been imposed to contain the spread of the virus, such as lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing. The stress of coping with these conditions has given rise to a number of mental health issues, including fear, depression, loneliness, anxiety, panic, uncertainty, hopelessness, and grief at the loss of loved ones who have died from the infection, to mention a few.

These symptoms resulting from stress are bad enough in normally healthy people, but in the case of the elderly, especially those with dementia, the mental health effects of stress can be much worse. This is because dementia produces its own set of psychological and behavioural symptoms that are much more difficult to deal with than the ones mentioned above. Studies document that 90% of those suffering from dementia may, at some time during the course of their illness, experience one or more of the following symptoms: visual and other hallucinations, delusions, delusional misidentifications, anxiety, apathy, aggression, agitation, wandering, loss of inhibition, and other psychotic behaviors. These symptoms may be caused by several triggers, such as loneliness, depression and various other social stressors. These manifestations, which affect the patient’s emotional state and thought content, are unpredictable, and may occur individually, but most often in clusters. These behavioral and psychological symptoms are as much a part of the condition of dementia as the decline in and impairment of cognitive abilities that are generally associated with dementia. The problem is that because dementia patients suffer from cognitive impairment, they are often unable to express adequately in words what they are feeling emotionally and psychologically, and the symptoms therefore go unnoticed and undiagnosed.

At the best of times, dealing with these mental health manifestations of dementia patients put a strain on caregivers—even those who are professionally trained. However, during the current pandemic, with the added stress and the increase in the occurrence of these symptoms, caregivers in care homes and assisted living facilities are being pushed to the point of exhaustion and burnout. In the current pandemic environment, it is important to organize in-house support group for staff and caregivers, organize holiday and individual birthday celebrations for each resident, staff and caregiver to maintain a celebratory environment in the house. Announcement and preparation for such celebrations could be weaved into residents’ daily recreational activities.

There are several approaches that can be used to deal with mental health issues of dementia patients during the pandemic. The environmental approach seeks to ensure that the physical needs of the patient are being taken care of adequately, and necessary adjustments are made to accommodate the individual circumstances of each resident. The cognitive and emotion-oriented approach uses various therapies to address the patient’s emotional needs. Cognitive stimulation therapy uses mentally stimulating activities such as puzzles and handcrafts. Reminiscence therapy encourages patients to remember past events, experiences, and achievements, often in a group setting. Validation therapy uses affirmation of the emotions that the patient is experiencing and/or acknowledgment of the patient’s expressed wishes. Sensory stimulation, AlfredHouse Symphony is a unique and one of the rare facilities that has a multi-sensory therapy room. Music therapy and animal-assisted therapy have also proved to be very effective. At AlfredHouse, we are committed to providing our residents with the most appropriate care for their individual needs, including their mental health issues.

 

Comments are closed.

Testimonials

“From the moment I walked into AlfredHouse I, I was comfortable. Your staff was wonderful. They made my Mom and...
AlfredHouse Assisted Living, Inc.
2017-09-26T16:57:53+00:00
“From the moment I walked into AlfredHouse I, I was comfortable. Your staff was wonderful. They made my Mom and I feel like home. She lived her last months with dignity, respect, and excellent care. I will always keep your home in fond memories and will always be grateful for the ladies at AlfredHouse.” Sandi Russell

“I wanted to thank you all for the wonderful, loving care that my mother received during her stay at AlfredHouse...
AlfredHouse Assisted Living, Inc.
2017-09-26T16:59:12+00:00
“I wanted to thank you all for the wonderful, loving care that my mother received during her stay at AlfredHouse Florence.” Linda Colarco

“We want to express our gratitude for the loving care, attention, and peaceful environment that AlfredHouse provided Bette during these...
AlfredHouse Assisted Living, Inc.
2017-09-26T16:59:23+00:00
“We want to express our gratitude for the loving care, attention, and peaceful environment that AlfredHouse provided Bette during these last four years. We are confident that you and your staff made her as comfortable and happy as possible under the circumstances. You have our deepest appreciation.” Cory Tylka

“This is an expression of my sincere appreciation for the excellent care that my spouse has received – especially while...
AlfredHouse Assisted Living, Inc.
2017-09-26T16:59:34+00:00
“This is an expression of my sincere appreciation for the excellent care that my spouse has received – especially while I was away. It would not be fair for me to single out any one person, for I feel that he has been treated kindly and professionally by everyone concerned. Again, I would like to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to all.” LaVerne Glascoe

“One comes across angels in one’s life at the right time and in the right place. Shane, you are one...
AlfredHouse Assisted Living, Inc.
2017-09-26T16:59:47+00:00
“One comes across angels in one’s life at the right time and in the right place. Shane, you are one of those angels. You enhanced the quality of our dad’s final days and you provided unconditional support ‑ and you your time ‑ to us as we traveled an uncharted path. What more can we say than ‑ thank you once more.” Marilyn and Jerry
0
AlfredHouse Assisted Living, Inc.

All fields are mandatory