Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients
Dementia is a common condition, affecting one in six people over the age of 80. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are many different causes of dementia in older adults. Other common types of dementia include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and normal pressure hydrocephalus.
Palliative care and hospice care are both appropriate for dementia patients and can help to alleviate physical, mental and emotional discomfort and improve quality of life.
Palliative Care for Dementia
The goal of palliative care is to help patients and families achieve a better quality of life by assisting with advance care planning, relieving symptoms of dementia and establishing goals of care. Palliative care is for patients at any stage of their illness, starting with a diagnosis. Patients can choose to receive palliative care even if they are still receiving curative treatment for their dementia.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, they are likely a good candidate for receiving palliative care. Read more about palliative care here, or contact AuthoraCare’s palliative care team.
Hospice Care for Dementia
Hospice care helps patients coping with terminal dementia by alleviating the mental, emotional and physical distress caused by dementia symptoms. Dementia patients who are admitted to AuthoraCare’s hospice program will receive expert, in-home medical care to help them live with dignity and comfort as their disease progresses. Click here to learn more about the benefits of hospice care.
End-stage dementia symptoms may vary depending on the root cause (Alzheimer’s, Lewey bodies, vascular, etc.). However, there are many symptoms common throughout different types of dementia. As patients become increasingly frail, they are less able to fight infections. As a result of this frailty, severe infections such as pneumonia develop quickly and are the leading cause of death for dementia patients.
Following are signs that you or your loved one coping with dementia is eligible for hospice care:
- Significant memory loss.
- Thinking that they are living in a different time or place.
- Loss of mobility.
- Inability to speak or communicate.
- Needing help with most, if not all, daily activities, such as eating and self-care.
- Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing.
- Weight loss and frailty.
- New or persistent infection.
“Hospice was a life saver for me and my family. Knowing she was under their expertise was very comforting to us.”— The Daughter of an HPCG patient