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Alzheirmer's Disease

Late Stage Alzheimer's Disease, Causes and Symptoms of Later State Alhzheimer's Disease

Late Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease today is one of the most common cognitive disorders occurring in the elderly populations. Such is the severity and occurrence factor of Alzheimer's disease that incident ratio is said to double every five years after the age of 60 years, with more than 4 million elderly afflicted in the United States of America alone. Though significant advances have been made in both the diagnosis and the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, such as the introduction of cholinesterase inhibitors and antioxidants, however there remains little knowledge on dementia, which is only one of the major symptoms of late stage Alzheimer’s disease. The following paper will thus not only limit its discussion on some of the commonly occurring causes; it will also point out its symptoms, modes of treatments and prognosis. The paper will include some guidelines for the caregivers, which constitute a major element in the care and treatment of patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer’s disease (Evans et al, 1989).

Some of the Normal Causes/Condition of Late Stage Alzheimer's Disease
An individual suffering from late Alzheimer's disease exhibits signs of startling with sudden, loud noises. He or she may grasp onto objects or even people and may not let go which may can observed while one offers a hand shakes. Another common condition in the late stage Alzheimer's disease is the continuous action of suckling of object. In addition, the late stage Alzheimer's disease patients reach such a state that they become totally dependent on their caregivers for the simplest of every-day tasks including toileting, eating, dressing, bathing and mobility.

Some of the Most Commonly Noted Symptoms In Late State Alzheimer’s: Stage of Dementia
The stage of Dementia is such that the elderly patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer's disease have little or no memory at all as the memory aspects of these patients are severely disturbed or impaired.

Inability to Recognize Family and Friends
One of the most commonly symptoms of the late stage Alzheimer's disease is their inability to recognize family and friends, including themselves. An example to this respect is that individuals suffering from late stage Alzheimer's disease may simply refuse to recognize his or her spouse and may not even recognize him in the mirror.

Inability to Perform Functions of Daily Life
Late stage Alzheimer's disease also causes the patient to forget some of the simplest of tasks performed during his daily routine. These may include such aspects as forgetting how to eat, bite, chew, or swallow. Hence the severe need of a caregiver to assist the suffering patient.

Inability to Control Bowel and Bladder Control
As also reiterated in the above lines, patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer's disease loose control over their bowel and bladder control, hence the functions of the toilet cannot be performed without the assistant of a caregiver.

Difficulties Encountered in Movement and Frailty
Patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer’s disease has been noticed to consume significantly good diets and meal supplements. However there is gradual loss of weight as well as a gradual decrease of coordinated movements. The lack of coordinated movement results in an unsteady walking pattern, and fumbling while trying to grasp onto objects. Frailty is also one of the symptoms, because of the weak muscle coordination, in turn leading to a number of possible infections, and other forms of physical illnesses.

Inability to Sleep Regularly
Patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer’s disease are observed to follow a typically un-regular form of sleep pattern, and in most if not all cases, there is total loss of sleep, which has to be compensated with sleeping medications to assist the patients in their sleeping (Evans et al, 1989).

From the above, it may be observed that the patients suffering from late Alzheimer's disease practically loses all his or her ability to communicate, understand, as well as both the short term as well as long term memory. He or she exhibits a continuous spate of yelling at, shouting, or resistance to the caregiver's initiatives to assist and help out in their activities including helping them to bathe, dress, eat or toiletry functions. In severe case of late stage Alzheimer's disease, patients may be required to receive anti-psychotic or calming medications to calm them down.

Guidelines for Caregivers for Patients of Late Stage Alzheimer’s disease
Due to the fact that patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer's disease enter a stage of their lives where they become totally dependent on their caregivers, it is of utmost importance to point out some of the common features and guidelines which must be taken into account. Since behavior problems are the largest set of complications encountered by caregivers, it is essential to note some of the aspects for addressing the particular nature of behavior problems exhibited by patient of late stage Alzheimer's disease (Post and Whitehouse, 1995; Lawton and Brody, 1969).

One of the first acts to be practiced by every caregiver is to adopt a caring and living attitude for their patients, and in doing so speak to them in a warmly fashion, using a low and understanding tone, and ensuring that there is eye contact. Secondly, it is also essential that the patient be continuously stroked or patted which will show a tendency of love on the part of the caregiver for the suffering patient. Lastly, it is also essential that a smiling attitude be adopted when dealing, addressing or taking care of the patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer's disease as this not assures the patients that they have a loving caregiver, but ensures that the function or activity can be accomplished with significant ease (Small et al, 1997).

Addressing Problem Behaviors in Late Stage Alzheimer's Patients
In discussing late stage Alzheimer’s patient, one of the most common aspects is the numerous behavior problems observed in these patients. An overview of these problems reveals that practically everything that surrounds the respective patient may in one way or the other contribute to the behavior problems. Some of the strategies adopted to counter and successfully address these behavior problems includes a thorough assessment of the elderly population, their environment, and the attitude towards the treatment and caring towards this particular population. For example it is essential for the caregiver to think and plan well in ahead so that problem behavior may not erupt at all. Then there is the element of abstaining from an argument, which can lead to a behavior problem, frustration, and even resistance from the patient.

Strategies to counter such situations, as outlined above in addressing behavior problems can include distracting and diverting the attention of the patient, continuing with the a set pattern of routine activities for daily life, promoting a sense of security and comfort for the patient. These strategies can also including the use of positive reinforcement techniques such as offering food, smiling at the patient, and gently touching him or her. All the said measures can help bring in a reassuring environment, as the patient receives personal attention and praise, as well as create tendencies for relieving the otherwise tense and threatening behavior, which the patient may develop. These caring and loving attitudes on the part of the caregivers can also serve to minimize and perhaps eliminate the otherwise depressive and anxiety filled attitude of the patients suffering from late stage Alzheimer's disease.

Caring for Late Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
The above section has briefly discussed some of the common and major symptoms and guidelines that serve to address the various problems both medical as well as behavioral for patients suffering and are in the late stage of Alzheimer's disease. These patients, however require a constant and periodical assessment for behavioral problems, psychotic symptoms as well as depression and anxiety amongst the population under discussion. Though these are a truly major cause of disturbance and distress for the caregivers, nevertheless addressing them at the proper time and with a loving attitude can serve to reduce and significantly minimize most if not all the problems faced by these patients. In addition, evaluating them for drug toxicity, psychiatric, psychological and environmental problems can also serve to bring about significant reducing in the suffering of the patients of late stage Alzheimer's disease (Mega, 1996)

Works Cited
1. Evans DA, Funkenstein HH, Albert MS, Scherr PA, Cook NR, Chown MJ, et al. (1989), “Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in a community population of older persons. Higher than previously reported”. JAMA 1989;262:2551-6.

2. Post, S., and Whitehouse, P., ( 1995), “Fairhill Guidelines on Ethics of the Care of People With Alzheimer’s Disease: A Clinical Summary”. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (December 1995), v. 43 (12), pp. 1423-29

3. Lawton, MP and Brody, EM., (1969) “Assessment of older people: self-maintaining and instrumental activities of daily living” Gerontologist 1969;9:179-86.

4. Small GW, Rabins PV, Barry PP, Buckholtz NS, DeKosky ST, Ferris SH, et al. (1997), “Diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer disease and related disorders. Consensus statement of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the Alzheimer's Association, and the American Geriatrics Society”. JAMA 1997;278:1363-71.

5. Mega, MS, Cummings, JL, Fiorello, T, Gornbein, J., (1996) The spectrum of behavioral changes in Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1996;46:130-5.
Published: 2009-11-25
Author: Ziauddin Khan

About the author or the publisher
Dear Mr. Eric, Bonjour
I have been writing business articles for the last 12 years, and also wrote academic articles for 5 years. However, am continuously in search of people and organizations where my write ups will indeed be appreciated.
Just to give you a glimpse of what I have written on, this includes social,political subjects, histories of countries,geography, aerospace, religions, etc. I am also fluent in spoken French, and can try writing as well.Regards Zia

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