End stage of dementia is the final, most difficult part of this terminal disease's progress. Thus, caretakers may find it to be incredibly demanding, even impossible to manage treating their family members or patients successfully. In this stage the brain of the demented person is almost completely inactive, containing almost none of previously present cognitive functions, affecting the physical health of this person as well.
Many people who are taking care of their demented family members cannot manage to do this on their own, once the final stage commences. Rather, they hire someone to do the job or admit the person to a hospital or a nursing home.
Changes in the Brain During End Stage Dementia
People in this stage of the disease have neither short nor long term memory. Thus, they do not understand anything nor recognize any of the people they knew, including their own reflections. They might speak gibberish or not speak at all.
Changes in Personality and Behavior
People in the final stage of dementia do not smile or show any positive feedback. However, they may be upset easily, crying or sobbing often. They may sleep all the time or be restless and in need of sedatives or sleep medication. They cannot feed themselves nor they can swallow food on their own. So, they need great help during eating and drinking. Also, they can grab onto things and not let go or react negatively to touching and being touched.
All in all, people in end stage dementia cannot take care of themselves and are usually bed bound, being prone to seizures. Their bladder and bowel movement functions are not controlled and their muscles are stiff. Due to all these states of affairs, they are likely to suffer from infections and diseases like pneumonia, dehydration, skin problems and urinary tract infections.
What Can a Caregiver Do?
The caregiver needs to dedicate him/herself completely to the needs of the patient. He/she will need to wash, bathe and clean the patient, as well as feed, dress him/her and provide skin care and help during urination and bowel movements.
Every time the caretaker enters the patient's room, he/she should introduce him/herself, since the patient may forget or be in doubt. During skin care, the caretaker should be gentle and caring, applying the lotion to elbows, buttocks and heels especially, checking other areas for any sign of problems.
The caretaker should encourage the patient to eat, chew and swallow enough food regularly and should provide adequate conditions for sufficient sleep of the demented patient.
Finally, in case of needing additional help or alternative medical opinions regarding the health of the patient, the caretaker should contact other helpful sources.