If your loved one has progressed to the later stages of dementia, it may help to know what to expect and plan for the future. Dementia affects memory and reasoning and over time will making it increasingly difficult for them to think clearly and communicate. They may also lose the ability to care for themselves.
What is common?
Symptoms vary with each individual but typically in the later stages it is common that they can no longer:
Perform normal activities of daily living like dressing or showering.
Walk safely. May need a wheelchair.
Speak or understand language.
Recognize friends or family members.
Control bladder and bowel functions.
Reason or have sound judgment.
Eat or swallow safely.
As things progress to this stage it is very common that family members need to consider bringing additional support into the home or consider finding an assisted living or skilled nursing facility that is appropriate for their loved one.
What Care Options Are There?
As their needs increase, if still caring for them in the home, there are many additional care options available. Some options that are common for in the home include:
Home health care
Adult day care
What Placement Options Are There?
As their needs increase, often it is no longer feasible to keep them at home either financially or because their care needs would be better met at a place that can provide 24-hour care. At this time, they may be better served in either an assisted living facility with a specialty in memory care or in a skilled nursing facility.
An Assisted Living Facility with Memory Care is often better for those who primarily need help with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, feeding, medication and incontinence care.
A Skilled Nursing Facility is often a better fit for someone with more extensive care needs like feeding tubes, bed sores, Hoyer transfers or physical aggression.
If needed, some places also have areas that are secure for those that are prone to wandering. These are much like gated communities in upper class neighborhoods with access codes given to family and staff to ensure that the resident is always with someone when they go on outings. Inside, the resident can move about their room and all the common areas (dining area, living room area, and social rooms) just like they would around their own home. Some also offer open courtyards during the warm weather months.
For more information on Memory Care or to schedule a free care needs assessment to see what Memory Care Options might be right for your family member click here.