Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that affects cognitive functions. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, individuals’ needs may change, requiring different types and levels of care. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but with treatment and proper care, the disease can be managed so that affected individuals continue to enjoy a high quality of life.
When a person is diagnosed with dementia in early stages, caregivers and loved ones can provide emotional support and help with planning for future needs. Care may include assistance with remembering to take medications, keep appointments, and meet obligations. Caregivers may provide encouragement for people with early stage Alzheimer’s to take part in activities that have shown to be beneficial in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms. These activities may include engaging in social events and playing games that exercise certain brain functions. Caregivers may also provide emotional support by accompanying care receivers to support group meetings for Alzheimer’s disease patients.
When a person that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease begins to have increased memory trouble and act in ways that are uncharacteristic, it may indicate that the disease has progressed to middle stages. Individuals with middle stage Alzheimer’s may experience good days and bad days. Caregivers can stay alert for behavioral triggers that are present on bad days and can make the best of good days. Establishing a regular routine for daily tasks may help to comfort those with middle stage Alzheimer’s disease and promote good days.
Individuals with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease typically require 24 hour care. Assistance is eventually needed with most daily tasks, including eating, grooming, and household chores. Health and nutrition become vitally important, as seniors will become more susceptible to illnesses. Throughout the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers should be focused primarily on providing comfort. Communication skills may deteriorate, but the senses usually remain intact. Late stage Alzheimer’s sufferers may benefit from having caregivers play favorite music, cook favorite foods, and other actions that will provide sensory stimulation.
Hospice services may provide maximum comfort for those with advanced late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Hospice services can be provided in the home to avoid the stress of moving into an unfamiliar place. Caregivers and loved ones can help individuals with late stage Alzheimer’s by looking into options while the person is still able to make decisions about end-of-life care. While these conversations may be difficult, having a plan may help to reduce stress on all involved when this type of care is needed.