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Summer wave of dementia death adds thousands to the deadly victims of a pandemic



Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the CDC has carefully tracked trends in various pandemic-related illnesses. In a typical year, authorities expect about 4,500 dementia deaths a week. However, in the last few weeks that number has approached 5,500. And experts aren’t sure what’s causing the excess death of 1,000 people a week.

Many of these dementia deaths can be Covid-19 deaths that are not actually diagnosed, especially during the spring when tests were sparse. However, public health professionals and managers of special nursing homes say it gets less and less over time as there are more tests and accurate diagnoses. It spurred the search for alternative theories.

“It’s hard to explain exactly what’s going on. Is this because these people are even more isolated and unwilling to live? I heard that,” Anderson said. “Is it because they had Covid-19 first, so the disease wasn’t detected and exacerbated their existing condition? Or because they didn’t get enough care during the pandemic? Did you hear all three explanations? “

Frontline workers say that chronic staffing makes it very difficult to keep people in the more advanced stages of dementia safe from the virus and themselves. Many of my colleagues resigned because of anxiety about being able to bring the virus back to their families, as well as increased stress and a strong feeling of worthlessness. For example, it is difficult to get a patient with Alzheimer’s disease to wear a mask.

“We’ve had a lot of falls due to lack of staff. We’re in danger because we can’t see people,” said an occupational therapist at a California nursing home. Retaliation.

“It feels like an impossible battle.” You can put the mask on someone in the hall 100 times and it will be removed 100 times. “

The burden is even greater because you don’t have to visit a family member who can provide social support and support hands-on care during normal times.

“We aim to be supporters, social workers, caregivers, friends and housekeepers for residents. Put a lot of pressure on caregivers and facility operations and get everyone what they need. We are able to do that, “says Walters. “Before the pandemic, I couldn’t even wear socks and walked around barefoot.”

In an interview, Kevin Jameson, president of the American Dementia Association, said new safety procedures and changes in day-to-day operations could be very stressful for people with dementia, even in well-managed facilities. Said. In particular, the N95 mask was worried that it could scare the population and asked the facility to find a replacement.

“People are obscured and obscured by the care of these individuals, which really isolates people with dementia,” said Jameson. “Their way of understanding their world requires them to see and hear multiple clues to understand what is happening.”

Residents with dementia tend to reflect the emotions of their caretakers, and if staff are visibly stressed and overworked, they can exacerbate their condition, he added.

Whatever the cause, the latest surge shows few signs of mitigation. CDC’s latest forecasts add 1,025 Excessive death from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the third week of August. According to Anderson of the CDC, this sudden change in mortality is just a few similarities in modern times to the opioid epidemic, the record-breaking 2017-2018 influenza epidemic, and the coronavirus itself.

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