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Alzheimer’s Disease: Late-Stage Care

By Carrie L. Hill, Ph.D

Objectives:

At the completion of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • 1.

    Identify the symptoms associated with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

  • 2.

    Describe five strategies for addressing nutritional challenges and bowel and

bladder issues during late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

  • 3.

    Explain how to enhance health in light of the immobility, increased risk for illness, and difficulty communicating pain that are characteristic of late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

  • 4.

    Name at least three ways to provide comfort to a person with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease by nurturing a personal connection with the individual.

5. List two kinds of decisions that caregivers and families often need to make during late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Introduction

When Alzheimer’s disease is discussed in educational or public forums, the early

and middle stages often receive the most attention. The early stage encompasses the

warning signs that first indicate a person might be experiencing cognitive impairment,

while the middle stage is characterized by disturbing behaviors such as wandering,

suspicion, repetition, and sometimes agitation or aggression. When Alzheimer’s is

represented in fictional stories, these are the stages most often depicted.

However, there is a late stage of Alzheimer’s disease that is rarely discussed, yet

it is vitally important that those in the late stage receive just as much attention and care as

those in earlier stages. This course is designed to help health care professionals

understand what happens to individuals during late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Late-stage

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