Caring for Late-Stage Alzheimer's

Being a caretaker for someone with late-stage Alzheimer’s is a big commitment. At this stage, your loved one will require assistance with basic tasks like eating and swallowing, walking, and using the restroom. Those with Alzheimer’s eventually lose all ability to speak, communicate, move, and walk. However, research shows they still have thoughts and emotions. They may not show it, but they do respond to peaceful activities such as being touched or spoken to, sitting outside on a nice day, or listening to music they enjoy.

Because of the physical changes and health risks that come with late-stage Alzheimer’s, caretakers often seek outside help at this stage, whether it be an in-home nurse, a memory care facility, or hospice. 

Question Guide

Alzheimer's Question Guide

From early testing and diagnosis to prescriptions and long-term care, the amount of questions Alzheimer’s raises can be overwhelming. Here’s a list of important questions you can ask your loved one’s doctor to get you started.

7 Tips for Late-Stage Caregivers

  • Late-stage Alzheimer’s requires 24‑7 care. As early as possible, make plans and decisions about how to best administer that care, whether that’s in-home healthcare or a memory care home.
  • Monitor food intake and weight loss. Your loved one may need more advanced care as the disease progresses.
  • Keep them moving. Talk to a doctor or physical therapist about some short-range motion exercises that can keep joints and muscles from freezing.
  • Make a bathroom schedule and avoid liquids at nighttime to reduce accidents.
  • Watch for signs of pneumonia. It’s one of the most common illnesses that comes with late-stage Alzheimer’s.
  • Continue some of their favorite activities. Research shows that while their verbal skill decline, those with Alzheimer’s still respond to activities like listening to music or sitting outside.
  • Being a caretaker takes a great deal of time, attention, and energy. Don’t be ashamed to seek help or search for memory care homes — they can provide excellent care for your loved ones.

Creating a Safe Environment

Below are a few tips to create a safe environment for your loved one.

  • Keep detergent and other chemicals locked in a safe place
  • Administer your loved one’s medication and keep it hidden or locked away
  • Keep floors clear of objects to avoid tripping and falling
  • Use nightlights throughout the house to avoid falls and confusion
  • Be careful of stairwells
  • Recognize when it’s time for them to stop driving
  • Install a lock high or low on doorways to prevent wandering
  • Keep emergency numbers posted just in case