The needs of older adults change significantly in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, and more is required of family caregivers. Aging adults generally need around-the-clock care because of their inability to walk without assistance, vulnerability to other conditions, and various cognition problems. Alzheimer’s disease impacts every senior differently, but late-stage Alzheimer’s generally lasts between a few weeks and several years. Here’s what to expect during this time.
The Late Stage
The mild and moderate stages of Alzheimer’s can last for up to 10 years, with many seniors taking on independent tasks alone. However, the most severe stage typically lasts between one to three years. For some seniors, the last phase lasts less than six months. While there’s no cure for this disease, there are treatments aging adults can receive to slow its progression. During the late stage of Alzheimer’s, your elderly parent may have difficulty saying more than a few words or holding up his or her head. Smiles may be replaced with grimacing. You need to maintain a positive attitude in your loved one’s presence and try to make his or her days as enjoyable as possible.
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 homecare 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.
Seniors need a peaceful environment during the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Your family needs to decide if your parent remains at home or moves in with a family member. Hiring an in-home caregiver is often the best option when an older adult is in the later stage of Alzheimer’s. Home care agencies generally have caregivers who specialize in the late stage of the disease, and they can help families manage as the condition progresses. It’s best to discuss the living arrangements for your parent before he or she enters the late stage. During the early stages, your loved one can offer opinions and wishes regarding his or her care. Honoring those choices provides the dignity your loved one deserves.
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 Flower Mound 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.
Ensure your loved one gets the foods and fluids his or her body needs. Becoming less active is common in the late stage of Alzheimer’s. Your loved one may require less food, but you need to develop ways to encourage him or her to eat. Self-feeding is still an option for seniors at this stage, but you should use safe utensils and serve finger foods unless you’re assisting with the feedings. Weight loss can be expected during the last months of the later stage. However, significant weight loss could be a side effect of medication or poor nutrition.
Having family caregivers nearby can be uplifting, even if seniors don’t fully remember who their loved ones are. Comfort and support in the late stage of Alzheimer’s is what your loved one needs. While sitting with your loved one, play his or her favorite music or read books he or she enjoys. Keeping a personal connection with your loved one can be soothing and encouraging.
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. Flower Mound 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. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010 to learn more about our reliable in-home Alzheimer’s care services.