The progression of Alzheimer’s can be as ruthless as it is predictable. While most commonly known as a disease that robs seniors of their memory, the later stages of this condition hold important signs for a loved one to act upon for the welfare of the Alzheimer’s patient. A key point in the disease’s lifespan is admittance to hospice, an unfortunate signal to a person’s final days. While a sad moment for any family, knowing when it’s time for this step can make the end of a patient’s life as peaceful as possible.
Signs That It’s Time for Hospice Care
1. Elevated Anxiety
Patients with Alzheimer’s develop a mental deterioration that can cause high anxiety and even hallucinations. These hallucinations are highly vivid dreams that can make a patient lose touch of reality to the point that they can no longer comprehend what is real and what is in their head. While this symptom can occur in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and can be mediated with antianxiety and antipsychotic drugs, hospice care comes into play later on to give them qualified professionals who know how to handle and alleviate their anxiety.
2. Complete Dependence on Others
Alzheimer’s reaches a significant point of progression when a person can no longer perform basic activities of daily living (ADLs) without assistance. These tasks include eating, bathing, grooming, or even using the restroom. They will have also lost the ability to walk or even handle a wheelchair effectively at this point. Once the disease advances this far, avoidable ailments like bed sores and malnutrition can kill a patient prematurely because of poor care. Admitting your loved one to hospice care can not only make their final days more comfortable, but it can also give them the best quality of life with constant medical care and assistance with their ADLs.
3. Extreme Difficulty Communicating
As the disease develops, a patient will have a problem maintaining a train of thought while trying to convey it. Along with this mental deterioration, their body will regress to the point that they have immense trouble physically trying to articulate their thoughts—even if they can muster up a complete sentence mentally. A loved one should enter hospice when they have passed the point of communicating their needs effectively, and as a result, they need constant supervision to assure their needs are met. At this point, their speech extends to maybe five to ten words a day, and they spend the majority of their days sleeping.
4. Additional Health Issues That Require Hospitalization
Even with good care, auxiliary illnesses, like urinary tract infections and pneumonia, are what ultimately kill a person with Alzheimer’s. When your loved one is regularly in-and-out of the hospital to ward off these complications, odds are they would fare better in a hospice environment under constant medical supervision.
Placing a loved one in hospice is a tough decision for anyone to make, but having qualified professionals ready to care for them alleviates the difficulty of this situation. Advantage Home Health & Hospice has served the LeFlore County, OK, area with top quality hospice care for over 50 years. Their staff understands that this transition does not signal defeat, but a necessary step to assure a patient’s last days are spent comfortably and surrounded by loved ones. They also provide bereavement services for family and friends of their patients during this difficult time. For a compassionate health care agency with unparalleled experience, contact their team at (918) 647-0653 or visit them online.