6 Things to Know about Late Stage Alzheimer’s

the-bulletDuring the late-stage of Alzheimer’s, the disease moves into the frontal lobes of the brain. When this area is damaged, the person loses the ability to interact properly. During this stage it is often difficult for the caregiver to take care of the Alzheimer’s sufferer at home and many choose to place the person in a nursing home.

Because the frontal lobes are involved during this last stage, the person with Alzheimer’s will lose judgment, reasoning, and social skills. Their behavior will most often be inappropriate and sometimes angry. People in the late-stages can become violent, docile, apathetic or immobile. It isn’t the same for everyone, each person may behave differently, but most of the brain functions of the frontal lobes are involved by late-stage. 

  • The person with Late-Stage Alzheimer’s has few appropriate Social Skills

Often the person with late-stage Alzheimer’s is bedridden. If your loved one is not, don’t expect them to be socially active. People with late-stage Alzheimer’s tend to withdraw from social events. They sleep more and socialize less. It could be that they’ve lost a sense of “who they are,” just as they’ve forgotten their loved ones and others. So the need for socializing slips away as an irritation with lots of chatter or noise in the background becomes more annoying to them.

Since they no longer remember the intricacies of social etiquette and  their judgment is impaired, they may do things that will embarrass you or cause them ridicule if forced into an unfamiliar situation. So it’s better to decline such activities as weddings or parties or family gatherings or holiday traditions where many people are involved.

  • The person in Late-Stage Alzheimer’s or Dementia is unable to show sound judgment or reasoning.

The person with late stage Alzheimer’s can not tell you what is best for him. Their wishes can only be carried out through documents that were prepared earlier before Alzheimer’s progressed to this stage. Documents such as Power or Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney and any Living Will must be signed prior to this stage. The caregiver will need to make most major decisions.

During this stage you or family members will need to know about their housing, finances, insurance and other financial matters.

  • Communication becomes an issue with late-stage Alzheimer’s

Though you talk slowly and calmly, the person with late stage Alzheimer’s may not always understand. Yet, the senses still remain even in late-stage Alzheimer’s. Though they can’t understand what you say, they will certainly “feel” any kind touches you offer such as; a gentle massage to hands and feet with lotion, brush strokes as you comb their hair, a gentle hug, or other touching that is pleasurable to them. Be attentive to dressing them and cleanliness always treating them with the utmost dignity.

Even in late stage Alzheimer’s, they can feel pain. Watch their expressions for a frown, or grimace or groan of pain. After long months of caregiving, ‘knowing when they feel pain’ can become like second-nature to you. A twist of their mouth can be a toothache, rubbing the side of their face an earache, etc.

  • Eating in late-stage Alzheimer’s can be difficult

People in late-stage Alzheimer’s can eventually forget how to swallow. With this in mind, try softer, pureed foods. Malts and milkshakes are a great treat. Clear liquids can be given through a straw or oral syringe when they can no longer suck on a straw.

Never rush them while they are eating as this could cause choking.

  • The person in Late-Stage Alzheimer’s may no longer be mobile

If someone with late-stage Alzheimer’s is  bedridden, a big concern is bed sores since they are unable to  turn them self over. They will need to be turned over often, not only to prevent bed sores but for their comfort as well.

They will also need to be bathed and fed and kept comfortable. Since communication at this time is usually limited to a few words, their care must be offered without request.

  • Comfort is Most important during this stage of Alzheimer’s

At this time, a person with Alzheimer’s needs comfort and dignity. Pleasant, low background music can be soothing. Soft, cuddly pillows or stuffed toys can offer comfort. Warm socks on their feet help sound sleep. A crocheted afghan across their lap can stimulate their sense of touch with the gently ribbed yarn.

Encourage friends and family to visit in small numbers to help with loneliness. Though the last stage of Alzheimer’s is a sad time for family and caregiver, it is still possible to create a pleasant atmosphere with pleasing colors, pictures and sounds. And keep the person with Alzheimer’s comfortable.
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  • The grandkids like a couple scoops of ice cream, cookies, or M & M’s, or mint chocolate chips– add milk and blend for a couple seconds and you have your very own custom Blizzard.
  • Hubby and I like yogurt, banana, apple, honey and juice for our morning smoothie.
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  • All of my children are adults now, but I recently saw a commercial where The Bullet was used as the preferred means to create custom baby food. The mother chooses which foods are used and which preservatives eliminated from her baby’s diet.

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