Late stage or end stage Alzheimer’s can be the most challenging stage with round the clock care usually necessary as the disease progressive. This stage can last anywhere from several weeks to several years. This stage is where loved-one’s may look into homecare 24/7 or look into moving there loved one into a facility. The symptoms or conditions to expect from a patient with late stage Alzheimer’s are difficulty eating and swallowing, inabilities to communicate, walking issues, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
Even though it may seem as the person we once loved is no longer there, research has shown that some core of the person is still there. As a caregiver we want to still try to connect with the Alzheimer’s patient primarily through their senses. This can be achieved by playing some of their favorite music, looking at old photographs, sitting outside, making their favorite food, and even brushing their hair. The caregiver should encourage food and fluids and set a schedule for bowel and bladder movements. Monitoring for skin breakdown is important because the patient may be bedridden or wheel chair bound so it is important to reposition them as well as keeping their skin clean and dry. Pain medicine can also be an effective tool with dealing with pain during this stage of Alzheimer’s. It is important for the caregiver to remain patient and continue to learn about the disease. Additional information for the disease of Alzheimer’s can be found at alz.org