The reality of Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult for family members to face. While many families often provide support and assistance during the early and middle stages, the late stages of the progressive disease can evoke new emotions in family members as their senior loved ones experience dramatic changes in cognition, behavior, and physical appearance. When it comes to providing home care, families should consider hiring trained and qualified caregivers.
If you provide care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may be wondering what to expect in the final stages of the disease. Knowing common issues associated with late-stage Alzheimer’s can help you better prepare for the future while also ensuring you provide your loved one with the high-quality care he or she deserves.
During the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one may constantly fidget with whatever is within his or her reach. For instance, your loved one may pull his or her hair, tug at his or her clothes, or move his or her hands back and forth.
2. Late-Day Agitation
A common symptom in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s is extreme agitation, especially toward the end of the day during the late afternoon or evening hours, an issue more commonly referred to as sundowning.
It can be extremely helpful to enlist the help of a professional caregiver with specialized training in Alzheimer’s care, which includes unique methods designed to boost cognitive health. The type of at-home care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
Although immobility can impact quality of life, being confined to a chair or a bed can also increase the risk of pressure sores, falls, and illnesses such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Seniors in the very late stages of Alzheimer’s may also not be able to sit up in bed without assistance.
Families whose loved ones are unable to live at home safely often take on the task of caregiving themselves, but seniors with Alzheimer’s may need a level of care that families simply aren’t able to provide. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Centennial Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
4. Loss of Speech
Individuals in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease usually lose the ability to speak. While nonverbal communication can sometimes continue after verbal communication ceases, it’s common for the disease to severely impact an aging adult’s ability to interact with others, and it can even completely prevent seniors from being able to communicate altogether.
5. Inability to Swallow
Another issue that arises during late-stage Alzheimer’s is difficulty chewing and swallowing, which could put your parent at risk for malnutrition and speed up the progression of the disease. Prepare soft foods for your loved one, or puree his or her favorite dishes. Since communication can be a significant challenge in the late stages of the disease, your loved one may not be able to tell you when he or she is thirsty. To prevent dehydration, make sure your loved one drinks plenty of liquids, and keep healthy beverages and water nearby.
When a person is no longer able to swallow food or medications, the focus of care often shifts to ensuring as much comfort as possible. This type of care often includes allowing the senior to remain at home, surrounded by his or her loving family, friends, pets, and cherished belongings.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Centennial Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Call Home Care Assistance at (303) 957-3100 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.