Dealing with the decline of a loved one’s health with a condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be incredibly tough, and it’s important to ensure that they are receiving the best possible care throughout. During the moderate to advanced stages of memory loss, hands on and compassionate care become more important than ever before.
At this stage, the symptoms of dementia tend to become much more pronounced. Alongside additional memory loss symptoms, your loved one may start to feel moody or withdrawn, struggle to control their bladder or bowels or experience differing sleep patterns, for example.
The onset of these new symptoms can be extremely challenging, which is why it’s important to ensure your relative has access to the compassionate care they need and deserve. Here are five key ways that compassionate, hands on care can improve your loved one’s quality of life in the moderate to advanced stages of memory loss.
1. Helps your loved one participate in daily tasks for as long as possible.
The moderate stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s can last for a long period of time (typically many years). During this time, symptoms can change rapidly, meaning care must be highly personalized and dynamic. Crucially, though, during the moderate stages of memory loss, people can typically still participate in daily activities, which should be encouraged. Prioritizing compassionate care from caregivers who have the time to spend encouraging assisted independence and autonomy is vital. What’s more, hands on care allows caregivers to get to know individuals on a much more personal level. With this knowledge at their disposal, caregivers can effectively adapt activities in a way that will allow the person to complete daily tasks as independently and safely as possible, for as long as possible.
2. Around-the-clock personal care.
Naturally, as dementia or Alzheimer’s progresses, a person’s care needs will become more advanced. Particularly in the later stages, they may become increasingly confused, forgetful and prone to wandering, while also experiencing changes in their physical capabilities like a reduced ability to walk, sit or swallow. In the moderate to advanced stages of memory loss, people also often begin to have trouble controlling their bladder or bowels, which can be distressing. The right care team will consider things like setting toilet schedules to suit the individual and limiting liquids before bedtime to increase comfort through the night. Hands on care can also allow bowel movements to be monitored to assess the effects of diet, as well as providing the person with absorbent, protective pads to keep them comfortable. All of these new challenges can be difficult for those with memory loss to deal with but having access to hands on and around-the-clock care can make life a little easier. Compassionate personal care that preserves dignity and comfort is an absolute must in the moderate to late stages of memory loss.
3. Helps tackle communication barriers.
When a caregiver is providing around-the-clock care for a resident, it is natural for them to become well attuned to that individual’s needs. During the moderate to advanced stages of memory loss, communication can become increasingly difficult. Those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s often express their pain, distress, or discomfort in different ways to what may be expected. Hands on, compassionate care can allow caregivers to recognize the crucial signs that a resident is experiencing distress or pain, even when they are unable to communicate these thoughts. This type of care also allows caregivers to identify any physical signs of illness or injury, including pale or flushed skin, fever or swelling.
4. Ensure they receive company and interaction.
People in the late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often become much less able to initiate conversation or interact with caregivers, but this does not mean they no longer require social interaction. Despite their decreased ability to communicate effectively, people in the moderate to advanced stages of memory loss still experience emotions such as anxiety, boredom, and loneliness. Therefore, gestures like hand holding, eye contact and gentle reassurance become more important than ever, as do activities to stimulate the senses. Things like playing a person’s favorite song, looking at old photos or cooking their favorite food can be incredibly beneficial, for example. Finding a residential care home with a lower patient to staff ratio, where caregivers have the time to spend nurturing and meeting the needs of residents is a great place to start.
5. Monitoring of food intake.
Particularly during the late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, keeping track of a person’s food and water consumption is incredibly important. During this stage of the condition, it is not uncommon for individuals to lose their appetite or simply forget to eat or drink. Hands-on care allows food and water consumption to be monitored carefully. The provision of this type of care can allow any issues including unexpected weight loss or struggles with food textures to be identified and addressed quickly. For individuals with memory loss, self-feeding can also become difficult – this is something that many people do find it hard to adapt to. Compassionate care that aids residents in being as independent as possible when eating is a great way to prevent mealtimes from becoming a distressing experience.
If your parent or loved one is dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it can be difficult to look ahead to the more advanced stages, but planning forward is a great idea. Finding the appropriate hands on, compassionate care for your relative can not only help maintain their quality of life but leave you with greater peace of mind that their needs will continue to be met.
When choosing a residential care facility for your loved one, be sure to ask about hands-on, compassionate care, as well as their experience in catering for the unique needs of those in the moderate to advanced stages of memory loss. Thinking ahead and asking the right questions can be tough, but it is absolutely worthwhile. For more information on caring for a loved one with memory loss, visit us or contact us to schedule a tour today.