The world is in crisis and people are hurting in countless ways. Many are those who are distressed and struggling without one empathic look, one word or deed of sympathy. The religion of Christ is about love and compassion for “our neighbors”. It is about identifying our interests with those of humanity and supporting people in their needs independently of their culture, color or creed.
The Covid-19 pandemic and associated changes in social dynamics have been a challenging time for most individuals around the globe and constitutes a special burden for those suffering from dementia.
Most types of dementia are progressive brain diseases which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion1. Cognitive changes can include memory loss, getting lost in familiar places, problem with abstract thinking and poor judgment.
During this last year, cognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric symptoms made it difficult for individuals with dementia to understand and comply with the hygienic and social measures, thus representing an increased risk factor for contamination.
In order to conform with the governmental recommendations, health care institutions and nursing homes have implemented severe lockdown measures for dementia patients. The consequences of this prolonged forced isolation has been very negative in term of mental health, with more severe neuropsychiatric and behavioral disturbances among the patients, including increased aggression and agitation2.
Also the risk factors for dementia - age, obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus3 - or comorbidities present in individuals with dementia, are at the same time the main risk factors for a severe COVID-19 disease. Additionally, the brain pathology in dementia seem to constitute an increased risk of neurological complications from COVID-192.
- Let’s not forget those who don’t remember!
1. Alzheimer’s Disease International - www.alzint.org
2. Numbers K., Brodaty H., (2021) The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with dementia nature reviews, Neurology vol. 17.
3. Gottesman et al. (2015) Associations Between Midlife Vascular Risk Factors and 25-Year Incident Dementia in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Cohort. JAMA Neurol. 2017;74(10):1246–1254.