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Dementia vs. COVID 19: What You Need To Know

September 3, 2020

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a group of diseases that can impair memory, concentration, and other cognitive abilities. Cognitive symptoms range from memory loss, confusion, and difficulty communicating and problem solving to uncoordinated motor functions and the inability to plan and organize complex tasks. There are roughly six million adults who have some form of Dementia.

It has become clear that the elderly are becoming hospitalized much more frequently due to COVID-19. When people who have Dementia are hospitalized, they are more likely to experience delirium. Delirium can worsen symptoms and lead to death sooner than the average patient. According to the CDC, the death toll of these patients rose sharply in March, and by mid-April, some 250 extra people with Dementia per day were dying.

How COVID-19 effects Dementia patients

There have not been any studies proving that having Dementia increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. Other factors that often accompany Dementia like increased age and common health conditions may increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, similar to many others.

It is important that we recognize the issues that Dementia patients are faced alongside COVID-19. While almost everyone’s lives have been turned upside down due to COVID-19, it is especially hard for those dependent on their daily routines. Dr. Nazir from the Brain and Spine Specialists stated, “Patients with Dementia suffer from memory loss and increased confusion, so maintaining a daily routine is critical to their care. Like many, their routine has been disrupted; this can often have effects on their behavior and health.”

Are you a caregiver? Here are some steps you should be taking.

  • People with Dementia may forget to wash their hands, wear a mask, or take other CDC recommended precautions to prevent contracting COVID-19.
  • Patients with Dementia often have trouble understanding why things have changed. Reassure them that you are taking all of the precautions to ensure they’re going to maintain their health and keep the conversation on the positives to decrease their anxiety.
  • Caregivers should look for symptoms worsening in cognitive and behavioral attributes.
  • If these symptoms worsen or begin to develop in yourself or a loved one, be proactive and schedule your appointment today with the Brain and Spine Specialists.