Focus on Severe Dementia

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The last stage of dementia is late stage or severe dementia. During this phase, you may find that your loved one’s symptoms intensify and that they need around the clock care and support.

Symptoms of severe dementia

  • Severe memory loss, including loss of orientation to time and place and inability to recognize familiar faces.
  • Unable to walk unassisted and may lose the ability to walk altogether
  • Vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia
  • Increasing difficulty with eating and swallowing
  • Unable to perform activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, etc.)

 

How to help your loved one

Caring for a loved one with late stage dementia can be demanding. Confusion, coupled with losing the ability to communicate, may cause your loved one to be agitated or aggressive. You can help minimize these behaviors by making sure that the person is comfortable, for example, not too hot or cold, hungry or thirsty, etc., and make sure that their environment is calm without a lot of noise or activity.  

Help your loved one remain connected to the things that brought enjoyment. Listen to music together or read a favorite book to them. Or provide gentle touch, like a hand massage, which can have a calming effect.

This is the stage when you should seriously consider getting outside help to assist with the care of your loved one. Those in the later stages of dementia need intensive care, and having someone trained in caring for those with the illness can provide a huge benefit to both you and your loved one. They can offer tips on making sure your loved one is comfortable, help assist with feeding and bathing, and ensure that you, as a caregiver, get much-needed respite.

For more information or assistance locating services for your loved one with severe dementia, call Abramson Care Advisors at 215-371-3400. A senior care expert is available free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.