WDRN offers dementia-friendly resources for COVID-19

The Wisconsin Dementia Resource Network (WDRN) hosted a teleconference Tuesday, April 21 for members titled “COVID-19 Wisconsin Update and Dementia Friendly Resources, Activities and Coping Techniques during Safe at Home.”

Becky DeBuhr, Program Director of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, shared advice for navigating stress during the pandemic. The CALM method is used to minimize stress, anxiety, and depression. Some of the advice DeBuhr recommends is acknowledging the current situation is difficult. Voicing this reality can help and is an important starting point, she said. Establishing routines are important for caregivers and people living with dementia, and looking for new activities to incorporate into daily life by socializing over the phone and over video calls using applications like Zoom or Face Time. Look for ways to bring humor to your life, she said. And try to find ways to get needed items like groceries and pharmacy orders devliered to you, asking for help from others to do this if possible. Remember, the world is moving through this difficult time together, she said. Details about the CALM method are described in the pdf here.

Sammy Goodrich, Project Manager, TimeSlips Creative Engagement, shared how TimeSlips is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including a new e-newsletter, offering new weekly virtual creative engagement sessions, sending support to nursing home residents and offering new ways for others to send postcards or create artwork for residents, and other ways. Read more on the TimeSlips website. .

Kate Kahles, Program Manager, Alzheimer’s Association of Wisconsin, provided details about how the association is hosting teleconference and webinar family caregiver support groups, including male caregiver support groups, support groups in Spanish, support groups for caregivers of a loved one with Frontotemporal dementia, and other groups. A pdf of the support group schedule is listed here.

Meeting included update on Badger Bounce Back plan

The teleconference began with an update on the state of Wisconsin plan to re-open as Safer at Home restrictions are gradually lifted. Carrie Molke, Director of the Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, presented information about the Badger Bounce Back plan. Through increasing testing, ensuring access to care for people infected, and gradual stages of re-opening businesses, the state’s Safer at Home can progress to the Badger Bounce Back program, Molke said. Download a summary of how the plan works here. Expanded details about the plan are posted online here.

What is WDRN?

WDRN is a public health program of Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute. Through teleconferences and in-person meetings, this collaboration of statewide partners shares innovative best practices, resources, and information to help support people living with dementia and their families.

Stay tuned!

Members and people interested in joining can participate in the next WDRN teleconference. If you’re interested in learning more about the network or joining, please email WAI Senior Outreach Specialist Kathleen O’Toole Smith.