COVID-19 Response

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is working to respond to the needs of people facing new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is difficult under the best of circumstances, and the current crisis and resulting economic impact have made things even harder and have thrown some families into crisis.

We Can Help

Support and education for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia are critically important especially in these challenging and unpredictable times. We are creating new ways to bring you programs that provide resources, information, and guidance. Below are details on some of the ways in which we have modified our programs:

  • We are offering support groups by phone and using online video technology facilitated by our knowledgeable staff. These support groups continue providing caregivers with the emotional support and education they need to better understand and manage Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • We are delivering valuable information and guidance through online classes and webinars.

Impact Report

Alzheimer’s LA accelerated our response to the needs of our local community while staying safe and holding to our core values. During March-June 2020 our dedicated team was able to:

  • provide critical resources to families including food, medicine, and personal protective equipment
  • hold over 60 virtual support groups in multiple languages
  • provide educational presentations through our “Learn at Home” online series to over 700 participants
  • create and distribute brand-new caregiver tip sheets in English and Spanish
  • provide disease education, care planning, support, referrals, and crisis management to over 900 caregivers
  • educate over 300 healthcare professionals on dementia and COVID-19
illustration of phone, computer, and tablet

Learning@Home

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles provides educational programs for families and individuals facing Alzheimer’s or another dementia, as well as for community members. These programs are free of charge and are offered in the comfort of your own home. Join us by online video chat or by telephone.

View the Calendar of Events

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COVID-19: Activities to Do At Home

During the COVID-19 Safer at Home order, older adults are being asked to stay indoors to lower risk of exposure.

To help organize your days, we have put together lists of activities to do at home with someone who has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, regardless of their stage in this journey.

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COVID-19 Tip Sheets

COVID-19 is disrupting routines and turning care for someone with dementia into a potential nightmare for families. We have prepared four tip sheets to help caregivers manage those living with dementia during these difficult times.

View the COVID-19 Tip Sheets

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COVID-19 Challenges

Caregiving for a person with dementia is exhausting under the best of circumstances, and now COVID-19 is turning care into a potential nightmare for families. Alzheimer’s LA has shifted our services to provide the critical care families need more than ever.

There are more than 166,000 people living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia in Los Angeles County. Caregiving for a person with dementia is hard and exhausting, physically, emotionally, and financially. Even under the best of circumstances, families often struggle to provide day-to-day care for a person with Alzheimer’s.

Now COVID-19 is disrupting routines and turning care into a potential nightmare for families. Alzheimer’s LA has shifted our services to provide the critical care families need more than ever. Our Helpline remains open, our care counselors are available and working with families every day to help them meet their most pressing needs. Our community outreach department is doing just that: reaching out to our clients proactively to check in on them. What we are finding is a significant increase in anxiety and depression and families on the verge of crisis. They are enormously grateful that we are here for them, but we still worry about all those families whom we haven’t yet reached.

Challenges our clients are experiencing right now
The care for a person with dementia is usually provided by a family member. Twenty-four hour-a-day monitoring of their loved one’s behavior is necessary. This can include agitation, hallucinations, paranoia, and wandering. Even without the COVID-19 epidemic, family caregivers often feel alone, depressed, and anxious; they suffer from sleep disturbance and frequently face social stressors as well, such as loss of income. They tend to be older. With the COVID-19 epidemic, these stressed family caregivers cannot:

  • Go to the grocery store with their family member living with the disease; nor can they leave them at home on their own because of safety concerns
  • Afford the cost or access the technology for delivery of groceries or other critical supplies, like medications or sanitary supplies
  • Get respite from home care providers or adult day care centers
  • Receive visits from family members
  • Receive visits from in-home nurses
  • Keep their loved one calm and active so that they will not wander or stay up all night

Many of the family caregivers we routinely provide services for were already severely stressed, now many feel they can no longer manage. They are even more depressed, hopeless, and anxious than ever. Some mention feelings of suicide.

These families NEED counseling, emotional support, connection to resources, and purchase of emergency supplies (food, adult diapers, medications) so that they can continue to manage at home without putting themselves and their loved one at risk.  These individuals are in dire need of assistance.

The team of remarkable professionals at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is assisting as many families as we can, but our resources are limited.

How Alzheimer’s LA is responding
As always, our services are FREE and available to anyone who calls. We have shifted delivery of our services to focus on technology, but the telephone remains our strongest way of connecting with people. We have an online chat for people who can access the internet, but many of our families either don’t have the technology or are not comfortable with it.

Helpline: Our Helpline (1-844-435-7259) continues to be available and utilized. Anyone can call our Helpline (M-F, 9 am- 4 pm) or chat with a live person on our website (8:30 am- 5 pm). Staff are collecting information on an ongoing basis and maintaining a list of resources—which is quickly changing.

Care Counseling: Our care counselors are social workers who provide personalized consultations for individuals and families facing decisions and challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Care counselors continue to be available to existing and new clients on the phone. We are actively seeking funds to pay for grocery deliveries, medicine, medical equipment, and other supplies for families in need.

Please consider making a gift today to help us meet this and other growing needs.

Support Groups: Support groups have moved to phone or video. Groups are held every day, Monday thru Friday. Ten support groups are offered and are available in both English and Spanish. Call the Helpline for more information.

Education Programs: We are working to adapt our classes and make them available via video. Participants need internet access to participate but can do that from a smart phone. Information about classes can be found on our Calendar of Events page.

Tip Sheets: Four caregiver tip sheets on dementia and COVID-19 are being developed and will be available within a few days to provide additional information for family caregivers.

We know that this is a difficult time for everyone everywhere. And we are all so touched by the outpouring of support we see online and truly heroic acts by our medical community. But Alzheimer’s and dementia are often invisible in our society, and today our families are suffering more than ever.

Please take a moment to help us continue to provide for the growing need for our services during this time. No gift is too small, and every gift is deeply appreciated.

Wishing you all good health and peace,

Heather Cooper Ortner signature

Heather

simplified drawing of coronavirus

How to Avoid COVID-19 Scams

Scammers are quick to exploit emergencies to cheat people out of money, and the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately is no exception.

Below are some scams that are using the current COVID-19 situation to trick individuals, especially the elderly.

1. Beware products claiming a cure
From special teas to essential oils and testing kits, many companies have been claiming that their products can prevent or treat coronavirus.
Currently there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or products available to prevent or cure the virus.

2. Hang up on impostor callers
Phony callers that pretend to represent a government agency are one of the biggest scams.
If you receive calls where someone is asking for your personal information, hang up! Government agencies will not call and ask for information, and they never make threats about arrest or legal action. These scammers are preying on our hopes and fears, trying to steal your money and your personal information.

3. Don’t click on texts or links in emails that you’re not expecting
Scammers are targeting consumers waiting for their government stimulus check. They are requesting personal information, telling people it is needed before you can receive your stimulus check.

  • The government will not ask you to pay anything in advance to get this money. There are no fees, no charges, nothing.
  • The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • Checks have not been issued yet. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now (or faster) is a scammer.

Additionally, some individuals that get Social Security benefits have reported they are receiving fake letters claiming their benefits will be postponed due to COVID-19 related office closures. Social Security is not suspending any benefits and will never request people pay a fee to receive their benefits.

4. Only give money to charities you know
Whenever a crisis occurs, scammers try to tap into your goodwill to seek donations for a worthy cause. It’s very easy for anyone to set up an account on various platforms to scam money from the public.

If you would like to help families affected by Alzheimer’s and COVID-19 , Alzheimer’s Los Angeles appreciates donations, no matter how large or small.

For more information on how to avoid scams, visit The Federal Trade Commission’s website.

We know being a caregiver can be tough, but you don’t have to face it alone. Alzheimer’s Los Angeles provides you with FREE information, education, and support on your journey. Call our helpline for assistance: 844.HELP.ALZ (844-435-7259).

couple looking at computer screen, video chatting

Tips for Social Distancing

During this unprecedented time, we are providing regular advice and practical tips for people living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia and for the caregivers supporting them.

During this unprecedented time, we are providing regular advice and practical tips for people living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia and the caregivers supporting them.

Stay Connected
One of the hardest things about staying at home for so long is feeling isolated. Staying in touch with family and friends will help you (and them) get through this challenging time. It helps everyone cope better with daily life.

Connect with the people who matter to you by phone, mail, text, email, or Skype, using whichever method is most comfortable for you and your loved ones. Apps and social media platforms that allow you to use video calling such as Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Zoom might be worth a try. Seeing someone’s face, as well as hearing their voice can make you feel closer.

Consider arranging a regular day and time to connect, which helps provide structure and something to look forward to.

Develop a Routine
A daily routine will make staying at home easier. It can help your loved one with Alzheimer’s know what to expect on a given day and feel less anxious, especially if they are worried by everything in the news.

Try the following:

  • Put together a regular schedule – you might also find it easier and more reassuring to do things at the same time each day or week.
  • Keep things simple – simplify your routine or daily tasks to make them more manageable.
  • Take things one step at a time – try to focus on one thing at a time and break each task down into smaller steps.
  • Keep active – staying active can help fight off frustration and boredom. It may also help your loved one stay engaged and contented throughout the day.

We know being a caregiver can be tough, but you don’t have to face it alone. Alzheimer’s Los Angeles provides you with FREE information, education, and support on your journey. Call our helpline for assistance: 844.HELP.ALZ (844-435-7259)

adult son hugging his mother

Caregiving During COVID-19

We understand the challenge of trying to weigh the risk of having the help you need versus the incredible demands of caregiving all by yourself.

Given the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, many families might be wondering what to do about having outside professional help come into their homes. We understand the challenge of trying to weigh the risk of having the help you need, versus the incredible demands of caregiving all by yourself. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself if you are considering that difficult decision:

  • Does your loved one with dementia need personal care, such as help with dressing, bathing, and toileting?
  • Do you need some relief from providing all the personal care yourself?
  • Do you need some “time off?” Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
  • Do you have other close relatives or friends who have not been around other people and can help?
  • Is your loved one in fairly good health otherwise?
  • Is your loved one able to cooperate with the hygiene requirements of the coronavirus (washing hands for 20 seconds, coughing into elbow, etc.)?
  • What extra precautions has the company your caregiver works for put into place to ensure workers are healthy?
  • Does the professional caregiver know and follow the standards for providing hygienic care and preventing the spread of infection?
  • Is the professional caregiver serving multiple clients?

What if your loved one with dementia is in a facility? Should you bring them home with you? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Would you be able to provide all the care which is currently provided by three shifts of caregivers at the facility? For example, special meals, bathing, grooming, toileting, activities.
  • Do you have family or friends that can help you and provide you with respite time/time off?
  • Will your loved one be confused by the change in environment and routine? This can potentially cause very difficult behaviors
  • Will you experience additional stress having your loved one home with you?
  • Is the facility following the medical guidelines for infection control?
  • Are you generally satisfied with the care that your loved one is receiving?

Your own well-being, mental and emotional health are key, especially now. If you need assistance, then don’t hesitate to ask. And don’t forget, be thoughtful and consistent with disinfecting and washing, and know that you are doing the best you can to keep yourself and your loved one with dementia safe.

If you want to talk to someone about these issues or any other challenges you are facing during this difficult time, please call our Helpline at 844-435-7259 and ask to speak to our dementia experts, our care counselors.

Helpline is Open

Our Helpline is open, and we are here to help you. Call us at 844-435-7259. Our highly skilled care counselors are available to help you cope during this very challenging time and to help you connect with necessary resources.

Dear Alzheimer’s LA Community Members,

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is deeply committed to our mission and ensuring the health and safety of our community. We have been monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation with a particular focus on its local impact. We know that this situation is particularly complicated when you’re caring for someone with dementia and it is our full intention to continue helping you navigate this new and challenging environment.

Our commitment is to maintain critical support services, turning to technology to facilitate communication as much as possible. Our care counselors remain available to provide ongoing as well as urgent information and support to anyone caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. And, our educators are available to provide one-on-one education about everything from keeping your home safe to managing difficult behaviors. Call our helpline if you need anything at all during this challenging time: 844-435-7259

However, as the situation in LA, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties continues to evolve, and out of an abundance of caution that recognizes the unique needs and vulnerability of our community, Alzheimer’s LA has decided to postpone all public/in-person events, classes, and programs through April 30. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and reassess as needed.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding. We will continue to communicate with you as the situation unfolds.

Best regards,

Heather Cooper Ortner signature

Heather Cooper Ortner
President & CEO Alzheimer’s Los Angeles

In-Person Events & Classes Postponed

Out of an abundance of caution that recognizes the unique needs and vulnerability of our community, Alzheimer’s LA has decided to postpone all public/in-person events, classes, and programs indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and reassess as needed.

Dear Alzheimer’s Los Angeles Community,

At Alzheimer’s LA, the majority of people we serve are caregivers of vulnerable older people, many with multiple chronic conditions. This is the population at greatest risk for negative impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19). We, like you, are committed to ensuring we are doing our part to protect those we serve each day.

We know that change can cause stress for people living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia and that, in turn, can be hard for caregivers. Our Helpline is open, and we are here to help you. Call us at 844-435-7259. Our highly skilled care counselors are available to help you cope during this very challenging time and to help you connect with necessary resources.

Information is flowing fast, and the situation is very fluid. We recommend turning to reliable sources for information about what’s happening in our community, like the LA Department of Public Health or the Riverside Department of Public Health. Information on the status of the virus around the country can be found from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention here: CDC COVID-19 or see FAQs from the World Health Organization here: WHO COVID-19.

Consider checking in on your older neighbors by knocking on their door to see if they need anything. You can leave things by their door without needing to go inside. Or, call a friend who may be home caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. A friendly voice may be just what we all need right now.

Wishing you good health,

Heather Cooper Ortner signature

Heather Cooper Ortner
President & CEO Alzheimer’s Los Angeles

COVID-19 Webinars

Alzheimer’s LA at the Forefront of Combating Inequity

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is pleased to announce a brand-new virtual speaker series, Alzheimer’s LA at the Forefront of Combating Inequity. See how our team is addressing our community’s needs during COVID-19, including advocating around health inequities, caregiving in crisis, and understanding how local and national policy and budget cuts will affect our community.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Join Dr. Debra Cherry as she provides an insiders’ look at the recommendations from the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and the perspective on creating systems to support families facing Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s LA Director of Public Policy shares California’s budget impacts from COVID-19.

Speakers include Dr. Debra Cherry, Executive VP, and Barbra McLendon, Director of Public Policy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
COVID-19 has shed a light on inequities throughout our community, from impacts on communities of color to lack of training for healthcare communities. Please join this session to hear an inside look from key leaders at Alzheimer’s LA.

Speakers include Jennifer Schlesinger, Associate VP of Healthcare Services & Community Ed, Petra Niles, Senior Manager of African American Services, Alicia Villegas, Director of Early Stage & Latino Services, and Angie Yeh, Manager of Asian Pacific Islander Services.

July 14, 2020
Join Alzheimer’s LA for an exclusive look at how our team is addressing our community’s needs during COVID-19, including advocating around health inequities, caregiving in crisis, and understanding how local and national policy will affect our community.

Speakers: Zina Paris, MSW, Alzheimer’s LA Director of Clinical Services, Tori Boyer, MSW, ASW, Alzheimer’s LA Care Counselor, Katy M. Pinto, PH.D., Professor of Sociology, Caregiver.

African Americans, COVID-19 and Dementia

Dementia in the Time of COVID-19

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