During these unprecedented times across our nation, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) continues to answer the call for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, their family and caregivers, the general public and the frontline healthcare workers, providing critically needed programs and services.
They continue to assist with multiple services provided seven days a week.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the AFA’s licensed dementia trained social workers who run the AFA National Toll-Free Helpline (866-232-8484) have been working seven days a week to help answer caregivers’ questions relating to the coronavirus.
These include topics such as: What steps can I take to prevent my loved one with Alzheimer’s from getting sick?; How can I stay connected with my loved one living in a long-term setting who I am not allowed to visit?; My loved one’s adult day/respite program is closed, and “stay at home” orders prevent me from having another family member/friend come in to help. How can I cope with the added stress?
AFA’s Helpline served over 1,100 people between mid-March and early June via telephone conversations, web chats and text messages. The web chat and text message features are translatable for more than 90 different languages.
Additionally, the Helpline launched new telephone-based support groups specifically to help Alzheimer’s family caregivers navigate the challenges of COVID-19: including family members whose loved one lives in a long-term care setting or resolving family conflicts and stressors.
Educational & Therapeutic Programming
To ensure that people are still able to take advantage of therapeutic and activity programming during the coronavirus pandemic, AFA continues to offer daily virtual programs. Topics include art, music, dance, movement, yoga and virtual tours. Since mid-March AFA has done over 100 different programs/activity tip videos reaching more than 263,000 people. All of these programs can be seen on AFA’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AlzheimersFoundationofAmerica
AFA also launched a new Alzheimer’s Educational Webinar Series and in the short time since its introduction, over 3,000 people have already attended these free educational webinars that include topics such as Eldercare in the New World, Care for the Caregiver, Innovative Activities and Enhancing Self Compassion. This informative series will continue through year’s end and include webinars on Advanced Directives, Nutrition, Clinical Research, Coping with Anxiety and more.
Brain health remains important during the coronavirus pandemic. While in-person memory screening tests were not available because of the nationwide “stay at home” order, AFA continues to provide information about its online memory screening test as a fun and easy way to keep your brain active while at home.
More than 6,400 people have taken the online test in the last three months. You can take a screening here: www.afamemorytest.com
Helpful information is available on the website at no cost concerning the impacts of the coronavirus on families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Topics include coronavirus prevention tips, AFA Helpline answering caregiver questions, therapeutic activities that can be done at home, reducing caregiver stress during COVID-19, dealing with disruptions in routines, staying connected with someone in a long-term care setting, preparing for potential hospitalization, safety tips for essential workers also caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, strengthening family relationships and resolving conflicts during COVID-19, COVID-19 support groups for families and ways to prevent caregiver burnout.
The community of dementia care persons does not have to try to handle challenges alone. Don’t hesitate to contact AFA by phone or online. Help is available.