Living with Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult for the entire family. Whether your family has professional Alzheimer’s care assistance or you are caring for your loved one on your own, each day can seem like a new set of challenges and developments.
One of the things that makes Alzheimer Home Care so difficult is that people with the disease may have different needs at different times of the day. Sundowner’s Syndrome sufferers may find it especially difficult in the late afternoon and early evening.
What exactly is Sundowner’s Syndrome?
It’s a shift in behavior, temperament, or personality that happens in the late afternoon or early evening. This is also known as “sundown syndrome,” “sundowners,” or “sundowning.”
According to WebMD, one out of every five people in need of Alzheimer’s care has Sundowner’s Syndrome. Doctors are unsure what causes the sundowning behavior. However, in Alzheimer’s patients, the part of the brain that tells you whether you are awake or asleep fails. Some scientists believe that these neurological changes have an impact on the internal body clock.
Preparing for Alzheimer’s Care in the Middle and Late Stages
When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, planning for mid- and late-stage Alzheimer’s care may be the last thing on your mind. The diagnosis is already debilitating. And, before you begin planning for the future, you must attend to your loved one’s immediate needs.
However, once you’ve established your bearings, you’ll want to set aside some time to consider what lies ahead. As difficult as early-stage Alzheimer’s disease may appear, the later stages of the disease are even more difficult. Preparing for these stages will make it easier to cope, which will improve your and your loved one’s quality of life.
What to Expect with Mid- and Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
Early-stage Alzheimer’s disease usually lasts 1-2 years. The effects are noticeable but not incapacitating during this time. A person’s memory may fail from time to time, and they may require assistance with certain day-to-day tasks. They can function and care for themselves, however, for the most part.
Regrettably, this begins to change in the middle and later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease in its middle stages
A person with mid-stage Alzheimer’s will begin to struggle to function independently. Their memory and cognitive abilities will suffer significantly. They will also begin to rely on Alzheimer’s care from family, friends, or professional caregivers.
Mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease is distinguished by the following symptoms:
- Memory lapses and communication difficulties
- Having difficulty remembering the current time and location
- Hand-eye coordination is impaired.
- Inability to recognize or remember loved ones’ names
- Personal activities such as dressing and bathing require assistance.
A person with mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease, which typically lasts 2-4 years, can usually remain at home. However, at this stage, family caregivers frequently rely on outside assistance from friends and Alzheimer’s care professionals.
Alzheimer’s Disease in its Late Stages
Late-stage Alzheimer’s disease typically lasts 1-2 years, during which time a person becomes completely dependent on others for care. During this time, a person’s language abilities, as well as short-term and long-term memory function, are frequently lost.
Late-stage Alzheimer’s disease is distinguished by:
- Short-term and long-term memory loss that is nearly complete
- Sufficiency in speaking, followed by loss of speech abilities
- Physical impairment, such as the inability to walk, sit, or swallow
- Infection susceptibility is high.
- Care and monitoring are required 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Individuals with late-stage Alzheimer’s find it difficult to continue living at home due to the extensive care needs at this stage. Even the most dedicated family caregivers will rely on full-time care staff at this point or move their loved one to a facility that provides 24-hour care.
Alzheimer’s Care: How to Prepare for the Later Stages
Preparing for mid- and late-stage Alzheimer’s care takes time and cannot be accomplished all at once. You need time to find and absorb new information, as well as the opportunity to care for your loved one’s immediate needs. Rather than preparing for the later stages all at once, it is preferable to take a piecemeal approach.
Discover What to Expect for Your Loved One.
Learn about what to expect with mid- and late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. What types of behavioral changes can you expect to see in your loved one? What kinds of internal changes are causing these behavioral shifts? What kinds of caregiving tasks will be required? What are the most effective ways to make your loved one feel at ease, safe, and secure?
Discover What to Expect From Yourself
Alzheimer’s disease will affect more than just your loved one. It will also have a significant impact on your life and well-being. As a result, educate yourself on what to expect as a caregiver. What kinds of challenges will you face? What effect will it have on your well-being? What resources are available to make care more manageable?
Examine Your Financial Situation Closely
Providing Alzheimer’s care for a loved one can be costly, especially in the later stages of the disease. Many people have to miss work to care for a partner, parent, or grandparent, and as the disease progresses, you may need to consider home care or nursing care.
Educate Yourself on Self-Care Techniques
It is much easier to provide Alzheimer’s care for a loved one if you are already familiar with caregiving strategies. When new challenges arise, you will be prepared to deal with them. And, if you’re already aware of these strategies, you’ll be less likely to make mistakes while caring for a loved one.
Create a Support System
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a result, it is critical that you establish a strong support network. This can include family members, friends, caregiver support groups, and Alzheimer’s care professionals. The sooner you begin to build this network, the better.
Investigate Alzheimer’s Care Options
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, most family caregivers find themselves unable to keep up. Many people hire in-home Alzheimer’s care providers to help with the workload. It may be necessary for your loved one to eventually move into a nursing facility. In either case, if you’ve already researched local Alzheimer’s care options, it will be much easier to find the right care providers.
One final piece of advice for those preparing for mid- and late-stage Alzheimer’s care: be realistic. When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you want to do everything in your power to help them. However, caring for someone with mid- or late-stage Alzheimer’s disease on your own can necessitate superhuman abilities. If you try to do it on your own, you will become overwhelmed. At that point, you are jeopardizing your and your loved one’s safety.