Planning for the late stage
If the person with late-stage dementia has prepared documents for her care, refer to these so you can follow her care wishes. If plans were not made, start the process as soon as possible. Decide who will be responsible for making care decisions. If you don’t know the person’s wishes, you’ll have to make decisions based on the person's lifelong values and desires, and what you think the person would want. Your local Alzheimer Society can advise you about care issues and the kinds of professionals who can help to address them.
The person with the disease may be living at home with a family member, have help coming into the home or, in many cases, be living in a care facility. If you are caring for someone at home, you will need to have close connections to a physician and all or some of the following:
- Social worker
- Occupational therapist
Home support services
Their help is very important as you manage this stage of the disease. They will help you create a plan for the best care possible and meet with you regularly to review the plan. Also, learn about the services available as the person's disease progresses and both your needs change (homecare services, respite care, community programs like Meals on Wheels, and care facilities). If you are thinking of using a care facility, find out what to look for and how to make the move as easy as possible.
If the person resides in a care facility:
- Keep in touch with the doctor and/or facility staff about the person's condition, care and treatment.
Find out the key people to contact for specific areas of caregiving. This means people involved in the medical care, social work and spiritual needs.
Tell the staff about your feelings and concerns, what help you need or questions you may have.
Ask to have regular care planning meetings where family members and care providers can attend.
Ask for a copy of the care plan.
Discuss options for ways of meeting the person's needs and preferences. Ask questions if you need terms or procedures explained.
Legal and financial
If plans have not already been made, you will need to arrange financial and legal matters. Decide who will be responsible for these. Follow the person's wishes, if you know them. If there are no definite instructions for finances and legal issues, the family must make decisions taking into account the his values, desires and what they believe he would have wanted. Your local Alzheimer Society can advise you on what issues will need to be addressed and the kinds of professionals who can help with them.
Last Updated: 02/03/12