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Other Care in Late Stages of Dementia

Did you know?

To prevent your loved one from developing flu and possibly pneumonia, consider getting a flu shot annually for both you and your loved one.

Video

Watch a video that shows a caregiver grooming a person in a late stage of dementia (2 minutes 40 seconds long).

As your loved one’s dementia advances to the late stages of dementia, new concerns arise.

Lifting and Moving Your Loved One

Lifting your loved one will eventually become necessary in later stages of dementia. If your loved one is no longer able to move independently, it is important to use proper techniques to avoid injury to both him or her and yourself. Consult with a health care professional about proper ways to lift and turn your loved one.

Suggestions: Moving your loved one’s limbs and joints when he or she no longer moves independently is important to prevent joints from "freezing" up. Consult with a physical therapist or nurse to learn how to slowly move the arms and legs two to three times per day and other ways to maintain range of motion.

Pressure Sores

Once your loved one is confined to a chair or a bed for long periods of time, pressure or "bedsores" become a potential concern. These sores are usually caused by remaining in the same position for long lengths of time.

Suggestions: Change your loved one’s position at least every two hours. Use pillows or pads to protect bony areas. Keep your loved one’s body properly aligned. Consult with a health care expert to learn what is needed for your loved one’s degree of mobility. For example, special mattresses and special types of bandages may be needed. It is important to treat these sores early and seek medical care if they do not heal. You may also find advice on prevention at the links below.

Hospice

Hospice is care and support for terminally ill patients. Eventually, you may wonder when it is appropriate to transfer your loved one to hospice care. Medicare offers guidelines on when they consider it the appropriate time for people to be covered for hospice care, for example, a doctor must certify that the individual has less than six months to live.

Suggestions: Investigate ahead of time what hospice care is available in your community and what you will need to do should the need arise.

Resources

Practical Geriatrics: End-of-Life Care for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease

Source: Psychiatric Services
Description: This article, written for health professionals, describes clinical issues and caregivers' perspectives on end-of-life care in Alzheimer's Disease. The latter includes end-stage decisions and discusses emotional support for caregivers.

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Late Stage Care

Source: Alzheimer's Association
Description: This webpage offers general information on care during the late stages of Alzheimer's disease, including skin and body health, bowel and bladder function, food and fluids, infections and pneumonia, and pain and illness.

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Medicare Coverage of Hospice Care

Source: Medicare.gov
Description: This booklet offers information on Medicare eligibility for hospice care, including who is eligible for hospice, Medicare hospice benefits, and how to find a hospice program.

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Hands on Skills for Caregivers

Source: The Family Caregiver Alliance
Description: This web page offers information on taking care of the physical needs of your loved one in later stages of dementia, including proper ways to help bathe and dress him or her.

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Pressure Sores

Source: Alzheimer's Society (United Kingdom)
Description: This fact sheet describes pressure sores and their causes and outlines treatments and preventive measures.

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