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Helpline offers coronavirus advice to Alzheimer's caregivers

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is reminding family caregivers that its helpline remains open seven days a week to provide guidance and information about coronavirus prevention tips, handling isolation and caring for their loved ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing disruptions to normal routines and requiring many people to isolate themselves, particularly higher risk individuals such as senior citizens and those with serious health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the foundation says.

“Families across the country caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease are having to make changes and adaptations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While the coronavirus is forcing many of them to isolate, it doesn’t mean they are alone,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and chief executive officer. “Whether they have questions about safeguarding their loved one’s health, addressing isolation, making alternative care arrangements or just someone to talk to, licensed social workers are available to help.”

The AFA Helpline is staffed by licensed social workers trained in dementia care who can assist callers with topics and questions, such as:

  • What kind of activities can I keep my loved one engaged in to combat isolation?
  • How do I respond if my loved one asks about all the sudden changes in their daily routine?
  • What methods can I use to make sure that my home is properly clean?
  • What are some steps caregivers can take to care for themselves? What can they do if they are stressed or overwhelmed?
  • Should we still keep our medical appointments and visit pharmacies for prescriptions?
  • Is it advisable to have family members from out of town visit the person?
  • Should I be wearing a face mask? If so, when?
  • What items should I have in my home to be prepared?
  • Should I start refilling prescriptions sooner than normal?

Families can connect with the AFA Helpline at 1-866-232-8484. They can take part in a web chat by visiting www.alzfdn.org and clicking on the blue-and-white chat icon in the lower right corner of the page or sending a text message to 1-646-586-5283.

The web and text chat features are available in more than 90 languages.

A 24-hour Helpline is available to offer family caregivers for Alzheimer's patients much-needed advice. Photo courtesy Alzheimer's Foundation of America.