Can Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Patients Receive Care at Home?

Author: Lauren Greaves

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

Yes, late-stage Alzheimer’s patients can receive care at home. However, it’s important to consider the progressive nature of the condition and its associated challenges. While in-home care is a viable option for some, families should carefully assess their capabilities and consult with health care professionals to ensure their choice will provide the best quality of life for their loved one.

Understanding the Challenges of Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

Late-stage Alzheimer’s disease presents significant cognitive and physical challenges for seniors, impacting their memory, mobility and even basic functions such as eating and speaking. As the disease progresses, individuals’ previous symptoms can worsen, and they may develop incontinence, extreme behavioral changes and wandering tendencies. Dental, skin and foot problems also commonly take place during later stages of Alzheimer’s.

At this advanced stage, seniors typically become completely dependent on others for care, requiring around-the-clock support and supervision. Late-stage Alzheimer’s may last from several weeks to several years. When making decisions about care, consider whether it’s feasible to provide for your loved one’s complex medical needs and emotional well-being at home or if additional support is necessary.

Providing Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Care at Home

The CDC reports that 80% of people with Alzheimer’s receive care from friends or family. Around 57% of these caregivers do so for four years or longer, and most (63%) expect to continue their duties for another five years following. Providing at-home care for seniors with late-stage Alzheimer’s involves a comprehensive approach. Managing medical needs requires coordination and consultation with health care professionals, including physicians, nurses and certified dementia care specialists. Beyond medication management and personal care, caregivers may have to provide feeding assistance and specialized care for conditions such as pressure ulcers or infections.

Home safety becomes crucial to prevent accidents and ensure comfort. This may involve safety modifications, including installing grab bars, removing tripping hazards and ensuring mobility equipment, such as wheelchairs or hospital beds, fits through hallways. Caregivers should receive proper training in lifting techniques and handling specialized medical equipment. Seniors with late-stage Alzheimer’s experience the world primarily through the senses. Activities such as playing music, reading books, looking at old photos and sitting outside on a nice day prove helpful in maintaining your loved one’s quality of life and emotional well-being.

Exploring Alternative Care Options

While caring for late-stage Alzheimer’s patients at home is possible with proper support, families should also explore alternatives. Memory care and nursing homes can provide specialized medical care and support tailored to your loved one’s needs, ensuring the highest quality of life. At the end of life, hospice may provide the best comfort and care.

If caring for a loved one at home, emotional and social support remain just as important for you. Utilize resources such as the ADEAR Center or Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline for information and advice or help finding a support group in your area.