Wednesday Workshop – Caring for Someone with Late Stage Alzheimer’s
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. As most of us already know, Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
When a person moves to the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, caregiving may become even harder. Follow these tips to better care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s:
In the late stage of Alzheimer’s, loss of memory can become very pronounced, and people with the condition may be unable to recognize familiar things or even immediate family members – although there can often be flashes of recognition. People with late stage Alzheimer’s disease may seem to have an understanding of speech, but may not recognize people around them. They may still seem to respond to affection and to being talked to in a calm soothing voice, or they may enjoy scents, music or petting animals.
If you are caring for a person who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, you should be aware that the person may become very restless, and may sometimes seem to be searching for someone or something. Try to understand what is causing the behavior so you can fit your response to the cause.
People with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease may become distressed or aggressive, particularly if they feel threatened in some way. They may have angry outbursts from time to time, often during close personal care, usually because they do not understand what is happening. If this happens, it’s important that the caregiver understands and remembers that the outburst is a symptom of the disease, not a personal attack.
As Alzheimer disease advances, a person’s mobility becomes very limited, and he or she may stay in bed most of the time. The person may not be able to move in bed, so regular assistance with repositioning and skin care is important. Little movement may lead to body stiffness, which may make the person uncomfortable. People with Alzheimer disease require ongoing pain assessment and care strategies to ensure their comfort!
Sometimes pain medication is required to relieve general body aches or because of other medical problems such as arthritis. Because people with end-stage Alzheimer disease lose their ability to communicate, non-verbal signs, body language, and changes in behavior (such as increased agitation, anxiety, or sleep disturbances) become important signs of pain or discomfort.
In this stage of Alzheimer disease, the brain is no longer able to tell the body what to do. It can be very difficult to predict the length of Alzheimer disease, and each person’s experience of the illness is unique.
To speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!