3 Ways to Improve Quality of Life for Loved Ones with Late Stage Dementia
Many family caregivers can find themselves feeling stressed when they are taking care of a loved one with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia. It can be difficult to know what to expect during advanced stages of the disease, and family members may feel like they are not prepared to handle the challenges that come with caring for a person with dementia.
However, there are ways that caregivers can ease the stress of the situation, and provide help to their loved ones.
What to expect
Knowing what to expect in late stage dementia can help you be better prepared to deal with the changes that your loved one may experience.
As a person reaches the later stages of dementia, their cognitive abilities decline significantly. This can lead to a number of different changes in behavior, body function, and physical abilities. Older adults living with dementia may become less able to communicate, both verbally and non-verbally. They may also experience changes in their sleep patterns, becoming more prone to insomnia or sleeping during the day. Additionally, they may lose interest in personal hygiene, withdraw from social activities, develop incontinence, and become more agitated or aggressive.
While these changes can be difficult for both the individual themselves and their loved ones, there are ways to manage them. With the help of a care team, the person can receive the support they need to maintain their quality of life, even during the late stage of dementia.
How to Improve Quality of Life
When a loved one is living with late stage dementia, there are steps you can take to help them feel more comfortable, supported, and able to experience joy and happiness.
Encourage and Support Their Favorite Activities
As dementia progresses, patients often lose the ability to engage in complex activities. However, finding ways for your loved one to enjoy their favorite activities can help improve their quality of life. These activities can be as simple as listening to music or looking at photographs that stimulate joyful memories. For people who are able to walk safely, taking a supported stroll in their favorite park can also be beneficial. In addition to providing enjoyment, these activities can help to stimulate patients' mental and emotional faculties. As a result, they can provide an important connection to the outside world, meaningful engagement, and help improve the quality of life for patients in the later stages of dementia.
Help Them Manage Health and Hygiene
When a loved one is in the later stages of dementia, they typically will need assistance with their daily personal care and hygiene routines. Although they may not be able to do everything on their own, these routines can provide a sense of structure and normalcy. In addition, they can help to promote physical and emotional well-being.
There are a few things to keep in mind when helping a loved one with dementia with their daily health and hygiene routines. First, it's important to be patient and understand that they may not be able to do everything on their own. Second, it's important to use simple language and offer clear instructions. Finally, it's important to be patient, gentle and respectful of their personal space. By keeping these things in mind, you can help your loved one stay safe and comfortable while maintaining their dignity in the later stages of dementia.
There are a number of aids that can be used to help with daily hygiene routines. For example, shower chairs can help the care recipient feel safe and secure while bathing, and long-handled toothbrushes can make it easier to reach all areas of the mouth. It is also important to create a routine that is as relaxed and stress-free as possible. For instance, patients may feel more comfortable if they bathe at the same time each day, and if they have someone to assist them who they know and trust. By taking these steps, we can help make daily hygiene routines more manageable for patients with late stage dementia.
Make Their Favorite Meals
As anyone who has watched a loved one go through the later stages of dementia knows, mealtime can be a difficult time of day. Many people with dementia lose their appetite or forget how to eat, and mealtime can become a source of anxiety and frustration.
However, there is evidence that preparing favorite foods can help to ease some of the difficulty associated with dementia. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition found that when participants were given their favorite foods, they displayed less agitation and anxiety.
The researcher behind the study suggested that favorite foods can provide a sense of comfort and connection for people with dementia, helping to ease some of the challenges of the disease. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, making their favorite meals may help to make mealtime a more enjoyable experience.
Alternative Care Options
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it can also be very challenging. As the disease progresses, many people will become increasingly agitated and confused, and they may require around-the-clock care.
While most families are able to provide this care for a period of time, there may come a point when it becomes too difficult to cope. For families who want to keep their loved one at home in a familiar environment, home care agencies can be an invaluable resource in these situations, providing both respite care and long-term solutions.
In-home caregivers are trained to deal with the unique challenges that come with supporting people living with dementia, and they can provide support and assistance with everything from personal care to medication management. In addition, home care agencies can help families create a customized care plan that meets the specific needs of their loved one.
When caring for a loved one with dementia, home care agencies can help ensure they receive the best possible care.