How do you know if someone is in the final stage of Alzheimer's disease?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How do you know if someone is in the final stage of Alzheimer's disease?
 

Expert Answer

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

When a person with Alzheimer's disease reaches the final stage, he 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. However, these are the most frequent signs that a person is in an advanced or the final stage of a dementing illness.