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When discussing the COVID-19 pandemic with a loved one who has dementia, it is important to be matter-of-fact and honest but with a respectful, loving, calming, and warm voice, touch, and style.

Don’t make the conversation about the pandemic too detailed. Do discuss the issues in a general way and be honest. Don’t make it too graphic. Try not to trigger anxiety, agitation, and anger.

The TRUTH but gently. How the pandemic will affect the person with dementia and you and your relationship. But do so gently and with concern and with a positive attitude that “we can get through all of this but it will take a lot of hard work by us.”

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Isolating someone in their home with another person is a possible recipe for domestic violence. Keep them there for weeks-months, add in the use of alcohol and/or psychoactive drugs and the likelihood of domestic violence increases. Add in a possible gun and the violence can easily become fatal.

And during the coronavirus pandemic, police intervention will be less available to end an out-of-control episode.

There appears to be no real alternative to sheltering large numbers of the public in place during a viral pandemic. The long and intense frustrations of being sheltered in place do not mix well with alcohol, psychoactive drugs, and guns. During a viral pandemic, you can die from more things than just the virus.

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