Stage : Very Mild Decline
The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age-related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by loved ones or physicians.
Too Few Patients Getting Comfort Care
Geriatrician Laurel Coleman, MD, of the Maine Medical Center and the Beacon Hospice tells WebMD that the study will help physicians and family members understand what to expect.
Coleman is a member of the Alzheimerâs Association national board of directors.
âThe fact that the study is in such a prominent journal means that it will reach a wide audience,â she says. âThat is a very good thing. These are conversations that families want to have. Families want to know how to limit burden and discomfort.â
Mitchell and colleagues found that family members who understood their loved oneâs poor prognosis were much less likely to agree to medical interventions designed to prolong life.
Economics help explain why so many advanced dementia patients get these medical treatments, Sachs says.
When a patient gets sick with pneumonia, fever, or some other illness, they become more difficult and expensive to care for.
âThe economic incentives pretty much all line up in favor of transferring patients from the nursing home to hospitals,â he says. âThings are really set up to favor burdensome, aggressive treatment and not enough patients are getting treatments that focus on making them more comfortable at the end of life.â
Dying From Dementia With Late
The death of your loved one can be a hard concept to wrap your head around and accept. But knowing what to expect can help you when your loved one has late-stage dementia. It might help to know what will happen in the future so that you can be prepared emotionally and logistically.
This article discusses how dementia progresses and what to expect during late-stage dementia.
Difficulty Finding The Right Words
Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.
What Are The Warning Signs That Life Is Nearing An End
When an elderly person with dementia is almost bearing their end, it can be very traumatic especially for the loved ones. It is important to have an idea of what signs one needs to expect when the end comes as this can give you some sort of comfort.
When you think of a condition such as Alzheimers disease, a person can live for over 10 years with it. It is possible to make the person happy over those years. Since we are not immortals, at some point life does come to an end when you have dementia and it is something that one needs to be prepared for especially if they are caregivers.
Handling the final stage of dementia is much easier, especially when you are aware of the things that you should expect. It is important to give the person the kind of care that will award him or her dignified and peaceful death.
Usually, when a person is about to reach the end, the dementia symptoms usually get worse and this can be quite upsetting. Some of the things that you may notice include:
- Limited mobility so they may have to be bed bound
- Limited speech or no speech at all
- Double incontinence
- Difficulties swallowing and eating
It is important to note that the above symptoms do not really mean that the person will just die. There are people who can have such symptoms for quite some time. You should also remember that about two-thirds of dementia patients succumb to other ailments such as pneumonia.
Some of the other signs that can indicate that death is indeed close include:
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What You Can Do For Your Loved One
As an individual with dementia declines, you can help them by providing a loving and supportive presence. Sit with them. Hold their hand. Play music they enjoy.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is helping to get their affairs in order. Ensure that financial and healthcare powers of attorney are put in place, so you can make decisions when your loved one is no longer able. Look into funeral arrangements before you need them, so you dont need to make important decisions in a time of crisis.
Talk to your loved ones physician about the possibility of palliative care support in the home and hospice care when your loved one is ready.
Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
What Does Stage 6 Look Like
Stage 6 can be considered the beginning of late-stage or severe dementia. The person will become so dependent on their caregiver that they will require 24/7 supervision and assistance for just about everything. They may start losing their ability to speak and have increasingly severe mobility issues. At this stage, many family members and caregivers find that its necessary to move the individual into a specialized memory care community.
What Do Elderly People Think About Life And Death
As we get older, death seems to be nearer than when we are younger. In as much as anyone can die regardless of age, for an older person, it seems like it is more likely to happen, especially when dealing with different health conditions that the body does not handle as it used to in the younger years.
For older persons, death does not always spell sorrow and terror, as is the case with younger people. Many of the older people are contented with what the short-term future has for them. You may think that people may get anxious as they become older, but this is not the case. Older people do not have much sadness and anxiety, especially related to death. They are actually more positive about life and death.
As we grow older, our perspective shifts. This is when you realize that things are not as they always seem. Most people fear death because they feel that they will lose the things that they have been working so hard to get over the years. However, for older people, this attachment to things acquired is not really pronounced. This is how some of the fear of death actually melts away.
When you look around you and you realize that there are things that are a part of you that will outlive you actually help in a major way. This could be the legacy we have in children or gardens planted. There are yet others who place value on their country, their religion, or families that live on even after they are gone.
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What Are The Symptoms
Each person is unique and will experience dementia in their own way. The different types of dementia tend to affect people differently, especially in the early stages.
A person with dementia will often have cognitive symptoms . They will often have problems with some of the following:
- Day-to-day;memory; difficulty recalling events that happened recently.
- Repetition; repeating the same question or conversation frequently in; a short space of time.
- Concentrating, planning or organising; difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks .
- Language; difficulties following a conversation or finding the right word for something.
- Visuospatial skills – problems judging distances and seeing objects in three dimensions.
- Orientation – losing track of the day or date, or becoming confused about where they are.
Some people have other symptoms including movement problems, hallucinations or behaviour changes.
What Does Stage 5 Look Like
In Stage 5, the person with dementia has progressed to the middle stage and can no longer live independently. They can still perform some basic tasks, such as being able to feed themselves, but someone else has to prepare the meals for them. At this stage, problematic behaviors can start to occur, such as confusion, wandering, hallucinations and suspiciousness. The person with dementia will require a full-time caregiver and will become more and more dependent.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease To Progress So Quickly
The progression of Alzheimers disease varies widely between individuals, with most people living with the condition for between 3 and 11 years after the initial diagnosis. In some cases, people may survive for more than 20 years. When Alzheimers is detected early, there are possible treatments that can help to slow the progression of the disease and contribute to a longer life expectancy.;;
It is therefore crucial to plan for the future and follow the progression of the disease through each stage. Alzheimers disease first begins with physical changes in the brain. This can happen at a gradual pace before any noticeable symptoms appear. In fact, this pre-clinical Alzheimers disease stage can begin 10 to 15 years before any symptoms appear.
Reduced Need For Food And Drink
Someone in hospital or a care home will be supported to eat and drink for as long as they are able; however, when someone starts to die, their body no longer has the same need for food and drink as before. The bodys metabolism slows down and becomes less able to digest the food, or absorb the goodness from it. It can be hard to accept these changes when you know a person is dying.
People stop drinking, and although their mouth may look dry, its not a sign that they need to drink.
Ways to help:
Mouth care will give the person comfort if their mouth is dry. You might try:
- wetting their lips with a damp sponge
- applying lip balm
- offering small sips of fluid, if appropriate
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What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Dementia
Dementia is a progressive illness with symptoms that tend to worsen over time. A person who has advanced dementia will have all of the symptoms that characterized the early stages of the disease as well as new symptoms exclusive to the advanced stage. There are several types of dementia, including vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia. Despite this variety, generally the symptoms of most of these dementias are similar and include changes in personality, memory loss, disorientation, the inability to perform daily tasks, an inability to use language and the inability to censor personal behavior.
Personality changes are common in the early stages of dementia and tend to become magnified in advanced stages. Many times, personality characteristics can become exaggerated at this stage, and people who are somewhat anxious can become severely anxious, or people who are calmer can become withdrawn and passive. The opposite trend is also possible, and sometimes those who were once capable of making sound decisions can become irresponsible and rash.
Why Do Dementia Patients Stop Talking
There are many signs that can tell you death is near for a dementia payment. Even though you may be prepared for the end, it is never easy. The ten signs that death is near include:
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What To Expect At The End Of Life
The way people with Alzheimerâs disease die is different from person to person, but thereâs a basic pattern to the process. They slowly lose the ability to control basic body functions, such as eating, drinking, and toileting. After a while, their body shuts down.
They canât move much on their own. They donât want to eat or drink, and they lose weight. They often get seriously dehydrated. It can get hard for them to cough up fluid from their chest. In the last stages, many people with dementia get pneumonia.
Some other common signs that someone with Alzheimerâs disease is close to the end of their life include:
- They speak very few or no words.
- Theyâre not able to do very basic activities such as eat, move from a bed to a chair, or change their position in a bed or chair.
- They canât swallow well.
- They get sores because they sit or lie in the same position for too long. These are called bedsores or pressure ulcers.
Complex Interventions In Advanced Dementia
As people with advanced dementia suffer complex symptoms and still have numerous and complex physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs they are in need of multidisciplinary health care. By comparison with early stages of the disease there is less knowledge about needs in advanced dementia . Physical needs are related to adequate symptom relief and basic care needs. It is complex to meet the numerous and differentiated psychosocial needs comparable to people in moderate state of dementia, e.g., need of enhancing personhood, communicating and being in contact with others, participating in everyday life or feeling save and familiar . Unmet social needs for activity contributed to discomfort and behavioral symptoms . Needs being important in mild or moderate stage of the disease, e.g., financial needs and cognitive strategies for coping with disease are less direct needs at least for the people with advanced dementia themselves.
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Provide Physical Comfort And Care
Assess the person to ensure they are not in discomfort or restless, and offer the kind of care described in the above section . Reduce any interventions to only what is necessary, for example change the persons position every few hours or when they need changing.
Give regular mouth care. This can be done hourly to prevent the persons mouth from becoming dry. Apply Vaseline to keep lips moist.
Give eye care, for example use a soft piece of wet clean gauze to prevent the persons eyes from looking sticky.
Dying From Dementia Four Dangerous Signs You Shouldnt Miss
The realization that your loved one is dying from dementia is difficult to digest. People are clueless, and they cant wrap their heads around this crude reality. These are undoubtedly devastating moments, but there is no point lamenting over it forever.
Start by studying the true nature of dementia so you can spot the symptoms easily. Dementia is aprogressive brain disease characterized by degeneration of cells that result inthe gradual onset of disabilities. Theearly signs of dementia are vague and arent immediately visible. Also, thereis no timeline to tell us how the effectsof dementia overtake patients.
It varies from one patient to another according to the type of dementia they have and their age. People who suffer from Alzheimers experience difficulty retaining new information such as names, recent events or conversations. These patients also show signs of depression.
With the progression of the disease, they become disoriented, confused and unable to communicate effectively. Similarly, the ones suffering from Lewy body dementia and Frontotemporal dementia reveal a different symptom pattern.
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Being Your Loved Ones Prosthetic Memory
A person-centered approach emphasizes a patients strength, resiliency and functionality rather than their deficits, or the state of their disease. This is something that caregivers and especially loved ones and family members can take into their own hands.
Knowing who that person is, and weaving that into everything you do how can that allow the person to function more because youre focusing on strengths rather than deficits, Fazio said.
One way to do that is to be a prosthetic memory for your loved one, Fazio said. Sharing old photographs, music, favorite foods or reading books they enjoyed could help you connect with people in ways other than verbally.
Its about realizing that just because the person cant communicate memories, it doesnt mean they dont know their memories, Fazio said. We dont really know whats going on in the brain. Lets assume they know everything, but theyve lost the ability to initiate that to us.
Learn more about end stage Alzheimers and the features of a person-centered approach here.
Caring For Someone With Dementia Towards The End Of Life
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People with dementia may experience problems with thinking, memory, behaviour and mobility. It can be difficult to recognise when someone with dementia is nearing the end of their life. You can support the person by communicating with them and helping them with any symptoms they have. If possible, its a good idea to plan the persons care in advance to help understand what they want from their care.
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