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What is the Late Stage of Dementia?

September 20, 2019 0):?> in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers) Uncategorized

Having a loved one with late stage Dementia can be heartbreaking. Although the illness may be terminal, individuals can live with Dementia for years. Understanding when the end stages of dementia have begun is key to providing the best care possible and giving your loved one the comfort they deserve. 

Final 6 Months

During the final 6 months of dementia, the individual will have more frequent hospital visits or stays. Dementia is a progressive brain disease that affects nearly every system in the body. As it progresses, the body stops responding and begins to break down. This can lead to an increase in infections or minor ailments becoming more serious. Other conditions associated with aging can compound the situation. 

Final 2-3 Months

The brain and body will slowly stop responding to stimulus. The individual may begin to have difficulty swallowing food and liquids. Their speech patterns may begin to be limited to only 5 or 6 words a day. Assistance may be required to stand, walk, or sit. Incontinence and irritability might also occur.

Final Weeks/Days

In the final weeks or days, extremities may begin to be cold to the touch. Difficulty swallowing might devolve to a complete inability to swallow. There will be changes in their ability to breathe. They may have shortness of breath or even go several seconds without breathing.

Terminal restlessness may also set in. Increased agitation and anxiety can manifest as angry outbursts. They may be pulling at clothing or IV lines, or become lethargic. The person may seem generally uncomfortable. Terminal restlessness may happen for a brief period of time and then stop. It is generally seen as a symptom of the last stage of dementia. 

How to Ease Symptoms of Dementia

Individuals with dementia may require professional medical treatment and supervision. Some struggle with communication, and may not be able to voice their needs. It is important to watch for signs and signals so their needs are addressed. 

In some cases, hospice may be necessary. If a patient stops eating or no longer has the ability to swallow, hospice can provide comfort and end of life care.

How You Can Help of Dementia

The best way for you to help your loved one is to simply be there for them. Spend as much time as possible with them. You can play their favorite music or talk to them. Time spent is the greatest gift you can give. 

Setting the individual's affairs in order can help ease any anxiety they may have. Having financial and healthcare powers of attorney will allow you to make decisions for them. Consider making funeral arrangements, so you do not have to scramble with the arrangements after they have passed. Proper care and preparation will comfort your loved one, and give you peace of mind. Dementia is extremely hard on the individual and their loved ones. As with everything in life, we just encourage you to open your hearts for every single loved one involved. This is an extremely challenging situation for all parties involved. So be gentle on yourself and extend kindness towards yourself so you can extend it to others. If you're reading this, just know, your feelings are valid, and they matter.  There's nothing to do except be present and loving towards yourself and your loved ones.


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