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How the blockade of COVID-19 affected people living with Alzheimer’s disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, in 2020, 42,000 people died of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, compared to the average over the last five years.

Winston Salem, North Carolina — Wendy Brenner of Winston Salem remembers his mother, Nancy Hailwood, being energetic and disagreeable. Her mother was a psychiatric nurse and also a single mother of three.

“She was a big reader and loved jazz, beaches and dogs,” Brenner said. “She was like a very strong independent person.”

At the age of 78, doctors diagnosed Hailwood with Alzheimer’s disease. As her progressive brain damage worsened, she was transferred to a care facility that was completely dependent on staff and family.

“She was in the facility for a total of three and a half years,” Brenner said. At first, I want to go more every day. I take her out and still take her to church on Sunday. It was really important to her. “

COVID-19 led to the blockade of long-term care facilities and put aside daily direct visits.

“No one really expected how long it would last,” Brenner said.

Brenner could only communicate with her mother for a year by phone, video message, or window visit. She said social isolation accelerated her mother’s cognitive decline, eventually leading to her death in May.

“I called the supervisor, administrator of the nursing home, and I said I couldn’t do this,” Brenner said. “My mother lost 35 pounds. She’s completely different. She’s very stressed, excited and worried. She’s always in a wheelchair. At some point she’s in a wheelchair. I was spinning around a wheelchair unit. That’s all she did. “

Lauren Coleman of WFMY News 2 asked Brenner what was the most difficult part of leaving her mother for months.

“My mother didn’t die of a COVID infection, but she tells people that she died of a pandemic,” Brenner said. “I believe it, my sister believes it. She just passed away because she got so bad that year, and she was alone. So I’m there I was wondering about it, so I feel sick about it. “

according to Alzheimer’s AssociationIn 2020, 42,000 people died of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, compared to the average for the last five years.

Catherine Lambert Western Carolina Branch of the Alzheimer’s Association..

She said the organization’s call volume increased significantly at the start of a pandemic from a caregiver like Brenner.

“Social interaction is the way we connect as humans,” Lambert said. “People living with illnesses such as Facetime, Skype, and video may not understand that they haven’t watched a TV show. They may not understand that this is their loved one. No, and they are just working to communicate. “

Lambert said patients became more vulnerable due to challenges in aging, communal living, and safe hygiene practices.

“What we know rebuttally from the family is that they saw the decline of their loved ones, whether it was the inability to speak, the ability to move, or an increase in excitement. “Lambert said. “

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Lambert said the association will continue to work with lawmakers to find ways to keep the population safe from COVID while creating opportunities for responsible interaction.

Signed by Governor Roy Cooper House building 351 Also known as “Clifford’s Law”.

The law requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a protocol for visiting long-term care facilities in an emergency.

Trey Bateman, MD, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.. For the past 20 months, he has been investigating the effects of pandemic-related stress and loneliness on cognitive decline.

“This is a complex story that summarizes the global view of viral pandemics, social policy outcomes, and the treatment of elderly people with dementia over the last 50 or 60 years in the US healthcare system. “Bateman said.

Caregivers like Brenner may have lost quality time with their loved ones due to the blockade of the facility, but want others to find value in human interaction.

“I don’t know where we’re standing in the upcoming pandemic, but if we have to do something like this, I hope they do it differently,” Brenner said. rice field.

This holiday season may be the first time some families have seen a particular loved one in over a year.Throughout the season, the Alzheimer’s Association Free virtual education program We provide tips for making your holiday safe and enjoyable for your family.

How the blockade of COVID-19 affected people living with Alzheimer’s disease

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