Cold weather and pandemic take toll on dementia patients and their caregivers

Cold weather and pandemic take toll on dementia patients and their caregivers
Health visitor talking to a senior woman during home visit. Photo credit Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The cold weather gripping Chicago is tough on everyone especially for those struggling with dementia and those who care for them.

“It’s a really stressful time for caregivers and people with dementia,”  Melissa Tucker, director of Family Services Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, told WBBM Newsradio.

Tucker said with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage, some services are harder to get to like adult daycare.

“I know that people are struggling sometimes to get resources so that makes people even more isolated. That lack of social engagement is very difficult for caregivers and for the people with dementia. The cold weather, of course, makes that worse,” she said.

There are more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia, including 230,000 in Illinois. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends are serving as caregivers, including 381,000 in Illinois.

“Once people start talking about being caregivers they realize there’s someone they know that’s also a caregiver, someone else in their family that’s also coping with dementia,” Tucker continued.