Best Care Decisions For Terminal Dementia Patients

Making best care decisions for terminal patients is very difficult. At that point, people suffering from dementia present difficult challenges to their caregivers. Second guessing among caregivers can often happen daily. Am I making the right decision? Is he (she) comfortable? What can I do to make him (her) comfortable? And, as people with dementia and Alzheimer’s can live on for years, caregivers must be strong and steadfast.

 

Caring for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias at home can be demanding and stressful for the family caregiver. Depression is a problem for some family caregivers, as is fatigue, because many feel they are always on call. Family caregivers may have to cut back on work hours or leave work altogether because of their care giving responsibilities.

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Best Care: Daily Tough Decisions

Dementia causes the gradual loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning abilities. This makes it difficult for caregivers to know what is needed. Because people with advanced dementia can no longer communicate clearly, they cannot share their concerns.

 

As these conditions progress, caregivers may find it hard to provide emotional or spiritual comfort. Someone who has severe memory loss might not take comfort from sharing family memories or understand when others express what an important part of their life this person has been.

 

Palliative care or hospice can be helpful in many ways to families of people with dementia.

 

Best Care: What Works?

Sensory connections, for example,like hearing, touch, or sight, can bring comfort. Being touched or massaged can be soothing. Listening to music, white noise, or sounds from nature seem to relax some people and lessen their agitation.

 

Soon after your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it might be time to make end of life plans. If it’s too difficult for you to shoulder the daily burden, a nursing home or hospice might be the answer. Make a decision  before speaking and thinking abilities fail the patient. That’s because legal documents may have to be signed.

 

End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care he or she would prefer. Someone newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease.

 

A very good source for advice and suggestions is the National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center. It offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia for families, caregivers, and health professionals.

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