Q:

How do you care for a loved one in the last stage of dementia?

A:

Quick Answer

Individuals in late-stage dementia require help with dietary, personal grooming and mobility needs. Care for loved ones in late stages of dementia involves preserving the person's dignity and quality of life.

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How do you care for a loved one in the last stage of dementia?
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Full Answer

Caregivers for individuals in late-stage dementia must ensure their loved ones get adequate food and fluids. Dementia patients have extensive memory loss and may forget whether or not they have eaten. Regularly monitoring a loved one's weight helps to detect and address sudden weight changes. For individuals with difficulty swallowing food, softened foods and thickened liquids, including broths and soups, are recommended.

End-stage dementia reduces independent mobility and makes a person more susceptible to infections. Ensuring cuts and scrapes receive immediate attention, ensuring all applicable vaccinations are current and practicing good hygiene defends against infections.

For loved ones who still have their mobility, home modifications make it easier for them to get around. This includes removing throw rugs, adding a commode to the bedroom and installing safety locks. For those who are bedridden, circulation is improved by changing the person's position every two hours.

End-stage dementia also causes a loss of bladder and bowel control. Limiting the amount of fluids consumed before bedtime reduces bathroom needs during the night. Additionally, incontinence products offer backup protection against leaks, spills and bowel accidents.

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