How do you know that a person is the last stages of Alzheimer's?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How do you know that a person is the last stages of Alzheimer's? What are the signs of the final stages? Please get back to me, it seems like no one will answer my questions.

Expert Answer

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

When a person with dementia reaches the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease, he or she usually displays the following physical and cognitive signs:

  • Unable to walk even with assistance
  • Requires total care with bathing, dressing, and grooming
  • Verbal skills are limited; the person may just be able to say a few words but is unable to have meaningful communication
  • May not recognize familiar faces
  • Incontinent of bowel and bladder
  • Poor appetite, needs cueing at meals or needs to be fed

It's important to remember that each person is an individual and may not experience all of these symptoms. These are the most frequent signs that a person is in the last or advanced stage of a dementing illness.