What to Expect in Late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease

What to Expect in Late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease

Mike's Blog

As a Senior Living Advisor and dementia specialist (Mike McClernon, 516-254-9481), I understand how jarring an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis can be for patients and their families. They’re about to embark on a journey full of significant changes over time as the condition progresses.

The most important aspect of dementia care is ensuring that your loved one’s well-being is looked after through every phase of the disease. Although there’s currently no cure, some medication and lifestyle changes can slow the progression of the disease for some people.

Memory Care communities are specially designed to help people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia experience a feeling of safety and understanding throughout their dementia journey. Our company has helped place thousands of people in these wonderful communities where they can thrive and enjoy the best quality of life possible at any stage of dementia.

What happens in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia?

Dementia is a progressive condition caused by abnormal proteins in the brain cells, leading to the loss of memory and other cognitive skills. There are many common cognitive impairments in someone with Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss, problems communicating, reduced motor skills, confusion, wandering, and severe mood changes.

The disease is generally divided into three stages: early, middle, and late. People are considered to be in late-stage dementia, also known as “severe” or “advanced Alzheimer’s disease or dementia”, when their mental and physical deterioration is so severe that they require 24-hour care to ensure their basic necessities are met.

People in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease tend to experience:

  • Advanced memory impairment
  • Disorientation of time and location
  • Loss of ability to walk, feed themselves or use the toilet unassisted
  • Severe communication impairment, with increased reliance on non-verbal communication
  • Inability to process information
  • Difficulty smiling or holding their head up
  • Incontinence
  • Problems swallowing

It’s not possible for someone with late-stage dementia to live independently. Many families also struggle to provide at-home care at this point as the responsibilities have become too overwhelming. Memory Care is the most viable option to ensure that the person gets the professional, consistent support they need around the clock.

How Memory Care helps people with late-stage dementia

Memory Care apartments, communities, and programs are designed for comfortable cognitive stimulation. The staff is specially trained and qualified to provide empathetic, progressive care. They specialize in developing and delivering activities and strategies that maintain meaningful connections and feelings of safety and serenity in your loved one, such as:

  • Gentle touching, such as hand holding, hair brushing, or light, calming massage of the feet, legs, or hands
  • Reading out loud to them in a warm, soothing voice
  • Aromatherapy that promotes calmness and tranquility
  • Music therapy that includes hand clapping, singing along, or moving to the music
  • Spending time outdoors in a quiet setting to relieve anxiety and encourage healthy sleep patterns
  • Supporting practices of faith, such as access to books or recordings that fulfill their beliefs and visits from a spiritual leader to bring them a sense of added support and comfort

These strategies are on top of the services already provided to people in all stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, such as brain-healthy food served in the dining hall, puzzles, games, light exercise, and activities geared for cognitive stimulation, medication management, and support with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, personal hygiene, mobility, and more.

Getting families involved with their loved one’s care program

Although you’ve seen significant changes in your loved one since their dementia diagnosis, it’s important to remember that the person you’ve known and cared for is still there. They still have likes and interests and are still capable of feeling happiness and joy, even if they aren’t always able to express it.

This means that late-stage Alzheimer’s patients benefit from family visits to help them feel safe and reassured. Families are always welcome to Memory Care to spend time with their family members and enjoy a day participating in their program.

Even if the person has difficulty recognizing you, they’ll feel your loving presence and appreciate your company. You can spend the day reminiscing about old times, holding hands, looking at old pictures, going for a walk outside, or sharing meals together. Many Memory Care communities are pet-friendly, so feel free to bring the family dog or cat to help bring comfort to your loved one.

Everything in Memory Care is set up to help your loved one have great days, even in late-stage dementia. You can rest assured that they’ll get the care they need at this time while you focus on creating more cherished memories by their side.

No-cost help finding Assisted Living/Memory Care on Long Island

Memory Care communities are the best places for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to get the support they need to feel happy, fulfilled, and safe. When looking for the right community for your loved one on Long Island, contact Mike McClernon of Assisted Living Locators.

Mike has collaborated with hundreds of families just like yours to help find the most appropriate Assisted Living or Memory Care Community for their older relatives. He will ensure you have all the information you need to decide where your loved ones will thrive and be well-cared for during their vintage years.

Contact Mike today at 516-254-9481 or mikem@assistedlivinglocators.com to explore Senior Living Community options for the older person in your life. His phone is always on!