What You Should Know About the Last Stage of Alzheimer’s

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Once Alzheimer’s progresses to the later stages, family caregivers need to focus on maintaining their elderly parent’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life. Regardless of the fact that seniors with Alzheimer’s commonly lose the ability to express their needs coherently, the essence of who they are remains. Thus, caregivers can make a connection. At this point, seniors exhibit a number of symptoms that should be considered when providing care. Since seniors need around-the-clock care during this time, families often consider opting for in-home care. Here are some things you should know about the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sense-Themed Care

The world of a senior in the last stage of Alzheimer’s is experienced through the five senses. You can communicate your love and concern for your parent by:

• Brushing or combing his or her hair
• Gently applying his or her favorite scented lotion to dry skin
• Looking through photo albums
• Playing his or her favorite music
• Preparing his or her favorite foods
• Reading his or her favorite books aloud
• Spending time outdoors

Safety Issues

Seniors with Alzheimer’s who retain the ability to walk often tend to wander. Consider using some type of motion detectors in the bedroom and on exit doors. This way, you become alerted if your loved one needs assistance going to the bathroom or attempts to venture outside alone.

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 Fort Myers 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.

Mobility Loss

Take a basic care class or consult with a physical therapist to learn how to safely transfer a senior with Alzheimer’s who is no longer able to get up and move independently. The appropriate technique prevents injury to both you and your loved one. Learn how to use a gait belt or consider investing in a mechanical lift.

Help your loved one perform range-of-motion exercises as directed to prevent limb stiffness. While in bed at night, your loved one must be repositioned every two to three hours to prevent the development of pressure sores. He or she may also need hygiene care at this time secondary to incontinence. While your loved one is in bed, place pillows behind his or her back and between the legs to ensure the spine is properly supported.

Feeding Considerations

Encourage your loved one to feed him or herself for as long as possible. If eating utensils become too confusing, prepare meals using healthy finger foods. Protein shakes are another option. Make sure your loved one drinks enough fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration and constipation. Monitor your loved one for any signs of weight loss. Talk to him or her during meals. Offer a pat on the hand. Thicken liquids if swallowing becomes a problem.

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.

Infection Prevention

Perform oral care if your loved one cannot brush and floss his or her own teeth. Make sure any skin tears or other wounds are promptly cleaned and treated. Check your loved one’s skin during bath times for possible rashes or open areas. Make sure he or she receives an annual flu vaccine. Your loved one also needs a pneumococcal inoculation every five years. Seniors don’t always develop a fever in the presence of infection, so you must monitor your loved one’s health for other telltale symptoms.

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. Fort Myers 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 239.449.4701 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.