Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition with several distinct stages. While there are different methods of classification, many researchers separate the disease into three stages: early, middle, and late. Each stage is associated with certain symptoms and time frames, and each senior with Alzheimer’s will have unique experiences. Ahead, learn what to expect during the late stage of Alzheimer’s.
Some seniors live for decades after receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As there’s no known cure for the disorder, the symptoms will inevitably worsen over time. With proper care, some seniors live for 20 years after the initial diagnosis. The average post-diagnosis life span ranges from four to eight years.
What to Expect During the First Two Stages
Most seniors are diagnosed when they’re in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. In this first stage of the disease, seniors may start to have difficulty with the activities of daily life. They may forget words, misplace objects, and become less organized. Overall, memory and concentration skills worsen during this stage. However, many seniors can continue to live independently at this point.
Eventually, seniors reach the middle stage of the disease, during which symptoms become more noticeable. They may experience spatial/visual disorientation, worsening memory impairment, and changes in mood/personality, and they may start to wander and forget important details about their own life histories. During this stage, seniors may not be able to live on their own anymore. The middle stage usually lasts the longest, and caregivers should expect their aging loved ones’ care needs to increase throughout.
It can be extremely helpful to enlist the help of a professional caregiver with specialized training in Alzheimer’s care, which includes unique methods designed to boost cognitive health. The type of homecare seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
Seniors with late-stage Alzheimer’s usually require extremely high levels of care. In this advanced stage of the disease, seniors are particularly vulnerable, as the condition has taken a toll on physical and cognitive health. They may find it challenging to eat and swallow, and they may need assistance with personal care tasks. Eventually, seniors may not be able to walk on their own.
Families whose loved ones are unable to live at home safely often take on the task of caregiving themselves, but seniors with Alzheimer’s may need a level of care that families simply aren’t able to provide. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Palm Desert Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Timeline
Like all stages of Alzheimer’s, the duration of the last stage varies from person to person. This stage can last for weeks, months, or years, which is why caregivers should devise thorough care plans before their loved ones enter this phase of the disease.
Caring for Seniors with Late-Stage Alzheimer’s
When caring for seniors with late-stage Alzheimer’s, caregivers should focus on their loved ones’ comfort and quality of life. For seniors with extensive care needs, family caregivers may need to seek professional assistance. Options range from in-home respite care to adult day care for seniors. Even with additional help, primary caregivers need to closely monitor their loved ones’ eating and drinking habits, bathroom habits, and skin/body health.
While providing this type of care can be overwhelming, caregivers should never stop trying to connect with their loved ones. Alzheimer’s may cause cognitive damage, but many seniors retain some facets of self until the end. To communicate with their loved ones, caregivers should plan activities that engage the senses and stimulate the memory. They can try playing favorite songs, flipping through family photo albums, and cooking favorite meals.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Palm Desert Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Call us today at (760) 345-0001 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.