How Can I Tell if My Loved One Is in the Last Stages of Alzheimer’s?

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you need to start planning for the future. While you might be able to care for your parent on your own for quite some time, you’ll most likely need help once the disease progresses, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and find compassionate professional caregivers who provide at-home care. La Mesa families shouldn’t be caught off guard by the progression of the disease, so here’s a closer look at a few signs your loved one could be entering the final stages of Alzheimer’s.

Ongoing Infections

Some caregivers don’t realize that infections become a major issue during the last stages of Alzheimer’s. While this form of dementia doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of infection, it has a major impact on the immune system. Pneumonia is particularly common among seniors with Alzheimer’s, and many experts believe respiratory infections take place when seniors have a difficult time swallowing.

Severe Mobility Issues

Almost every senior with Alzheimer’s will lose the ability to walk around freely once the disease progresses. As the muscles become weaker and issues with balance develop, seniors with Alzheimer’s generally require a walker or wheelchair. At some point, they might completely lose the ability to get out of bed or sit up without assistance. Making sure your loved one remains physically active is one of the best ways to minimize or delay issues with mobility.

Inability to Communicate with Words

On rare occasions, seniors with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to communicate early on, but this is typically classified as a late-stage symptom. When your loved one loses the ability to communicate, try to remain as patient as possible. Your loved one might be able to understand what is being said even if he or she can’t speak. Stick to clear words and simple sentences when communicating. You might also want to use note cards with simple pictures.

Increased Sleeping

In the latest stages of Alzheimer’s, many seniors begin to sleep nonstop. Some wake up in the morning after sleeping through the night only to fall back to sleep a few minutes later. This fatigue is most likely the result of cardiovascular issues as well as changes in hormones. Unless a doctor gives you different instructions, you should let your loved one sleep as much as possible. He or she only needs to wake up to eat and for basic hygiene practices.

No Awareness of Recent Experiences

Memory loss is one of the most complicated aspects of Alzheimer’s, and every senior is slightly different. Some seniors quickly lose all of their past memories, while others remain somewhat sharp for years. Once the disease has progressed to the final stage, your loved one will most likely not remember anything from a few seconds before. This symptom is best addressed by an experienced professional. A caregiver or Alzheimer’s specialist can keep your loved one as comfortable as possible as his or her memory deteriorates.

Seniors living with Alzheimer’s should have the highest quality of Alzheimer’s home care. La Mesa families can trust the compassionate professionals from Coast Care Partners to keep their loved ones safe through every stage of the disease. Call us today at 619-354-2544 to discuss how we can help you create a customized home care plan for your loved one.