Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that causes difficulties with memory, thinking and behavior, and its severity can be categorized into different stages. During later stages, the focus of caregiving shifts towards maintaining the individual’s quality of life with dignity. Even though someone with late-stage dementia may lose the ability to communicate and express their needs, research indicates that their sense of self still exists. Hence, memory care centers in Atlantic Beach, FL leverage this to maintain a connection with our residents who suffer from late-stage dementia.
Challenges Associated with Late-Stage Dementia
Late-stage dementia is characterized by an individual’s loss of cognitive and recognition abilities. Communication and language comprehension becomes a struggle, eating and drinking become difficult and bladder and bowel incontinence may also occur. These can lead to worsened medical conditions such as choking, lung infection or urinary tract infections. Another issue would be impaired balance and coordination skills, making it difficult for individuals to move around independently. Therefore, memory care communities offer increased assistance to reduce the severity of these issues and engage in constant supervision.
Individuals with late-stage dementia primarily experience the world through their senses, and expressing care through the five senses can be meaningful. Caregivers will work with medical professionals to design daily care schedules that help to bring comfort and calmness. Some simple activities include playing your favorite music, looking at old photos together, eating familiar comfort foods or taking a stroll outside. These activities provide a connection to the outside world and boost emotional health.
Caring for someone with late-stage dementia requires monitoring their eating habits since they may forget to eat or lose their appetite. It is important to make sure they are comfortable while eating and the dining room environment should be distraction-free for added focus during mealtimes.
Incorporating favorite foods into meals encourages eating and can provide a sense of comfort and connection. Through our Sensations Dining program, in-house chefs work with medical professionals and caregivers to craft a menu that best suits your dietary requirements and personal preferences. Weight will also be managed by our caregivers to ensure that your body remains healthy for as long as possible.
Assistance with Bowel and Bladder Control
As dementia progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage your toileting needs independently. Assistance may be required for walking to the restroom and throughout the process. To maintain bowel and bladder function, caregivers will set a toileting schedule based on the resident’s natural routine, keeping a record of when they use the bathroom, eat and drink. Absorbent and protective products will also be utilized when necessary.
Pain and Illness Management
Communication is impaired in late-stage dementia, and this also applies to pain management. To recognize pain and illness in our residents, caregivers are trained to identify physical cues like changes in skin tone, mouth sores or swelling and non-verbal cues like facial expressions, gestures and sounds. Coupled with regular health screenings, we work to ensure that medical assistance is provided quickly.