There are criteria for all types of care, including end-of-life care. If your elderly family member is dealing with the later stages of dementia, it’s important to remain aware of what changes may indicate that it’s time to consider hospice services to help you meet her needs. Here are some of those details that you can bring up with her medical providers to help you determine when a change is a good idea.
She’s Having More Difficulty than Before with Memory
Dementia involves memory problems at all stages, of course, but in the later stages of dementia, your elderly family member may have a lot more difficulty with memory. She may start to experience greater difficulty understanding who you are or when in her life “now” is. Many people with dementia believe that they’re living in an earlier time of their life, which can be disorienting for you and for other people who care about them.
Mobility Is Seriously Hindered
Eventually, your elderly family member may have extreme difficulty with mobility. Your elderly family member may get to the point where she’s forced to remain in her bed if she doesn’t have help to get up. She may have much more difficulty with other physical needs, too, like controlling her bladder, swallowing, and more. This happens because your senior’s brain is deteriorating and the parts of her brain that helped to control movement are becoming affected by dementia.
Your Senior Is Having More Difficulty Speaking or Has Stopped Speaking
As your senior’s brain continues to be affected by dementia, she’s likely to have a lot more difficulty with language and with speaking. In the earlier stages of dementia, your senior may have trouble following conversations, but as the condition worsens she may not even recognize when someone is talking to her. Eventually, your senior may not be able to form words, either.
She’s Completely Dependent on Others for Bathing, Feeding, and More
Another sign that your elderly family member may need end-of-life care is that she’s in need of constant help to do things like bathe, eat, and other personal care tasks. The reasons for this are often multi-faceted. As physical activities become more difficult, your senior needs more help. But her brain is also less able to follow the sequence of events that makes up each activity.
She’s Facing Another Terminal Illness that Is Limiting Her Life
The main reason for someone to need end-of-life care is that they’re battling a terminal illness and they have six or fewer months that they’re expected to live. Dementia is considered a terminal illness, but if your elderly family member is battling another terminal disease, such as cancer, that is limiting her life much more quickly than dementia is, she may need hospice assistance much sooner than you originally anticipated.
It is never easy to realize that your senior is becoming ever closer to the end of her life. Determining when your senior would benefit from end-of-life care is something that her doctors can help you to pinpoint by looking at her unique situation in detail.
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