The Role Hospice Plays in Alzheimer’s CareAlzheimer's, Dementia & Memory Care | November 9, 2017
Hospice services offer a compassionate approach to end-of-life care, allowing individuals to live as comfortably as possible throughout their final days. When a cure is not possible, instead of providing a treatment plan, hospice helps manage pain and other symptoms during the last stages of life.
For those in the end stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, hospice offers great benefits to the individuals and their families. As the disease progresses, making decisions about the right level of care needed to improve your loved one’s quality of life can get complicated. This is where hospice services can provide the assistance you need.
Hospice for End Stage Dementia or Alzheimer’s
If you think your loved one is ready for hospice care, talk to their current physician about what options are available in your area. All individuals with Alzheimer’s disease experience symptoms differently, and the progression of the disease will be unique to them, too. However, in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, there are certain signs to watch for that could indicate your loved one would benefit from hospice services. These signs include:
Weight loss due to decreased appetite or food intake. With cognitive decline, the individual may have difficulty using utensils, making food choices, undergo changes in smell and taste or have trouble swallowing. This can lead to a dangerous loss of weight that can affect your loved one’s overall health.
Loss of communication skills. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, forming coherent speech becomes impossible. The individuals can no longer effectively express how they are feeling, and they may have trouble understanding directions and following along in a conversation.
Complete dependency on others for daily living activities. As the individual’s mobility and function decline, they rely on others for all activities of daily life, like bathing, dressing, eating, moving from one location to another and so on.
Severe decline of mental ability. Along with a loss of mobility, mental functioning also declines in such a way that the individual will lose sense of their environment, forget recent experiences and require full time personal care.
Co-existing conditions. Also known as “comorbidities,” those in late-stage Alzheimer’s may also have conditions like pneumonia, sepsis, stroke and more.
All the above often become too much for any one person to manage. This is why over the past several years Medicare and insurance companies have come to recognize the validity of hospice services for those in the end stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. American Senior Communities also offers care teams for those looking for options in the long-term care communities as well.
The hospice team will evaluate your loved one and design an individualized care plan, with the goal of relieving the daily physical and emotional distress your loved one experiences. These services can be provided on an inpatient or outpatient level based on the individual’s specific needs.
Hospice services are also beneficial to family members of those living with dementia. The team can help educate family caregivers on how to provide the best possible care in these later stages, assist with the difficult decisions that need to be made, offer respite so you have time to attend to your own needs and also provide spiritual and emotional support when you need it most. Hospice can also help supplement care offered in Long Term Care environments.
American Senior Communities offers comprehensive hospice services to assure the best quality of life for your loved one. Our Auguste’s Cottage program and our assisted living memory care apartments provide a person-centered, wellness-based model of dementia care throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.