While Alzheimer's disease is classified as a major neurocognitive disorder (MND), individuals with this condition can remain physically healthy in every other way. Life expectancy is influenced by the progression of the disease, the presence of other medical conditions, and the degree of impairment at the time of diagnosis.
Because it's often hard to predict the progression and arc of Alzheimer's disease, the issue of hospice care can be complex. However, certain telltale signs of decline can indicate that an individual with dementia is a candidate for hospice care.
Hospice care offers individuals with terminal issues who are within six months of the expected end of life the palliative and supportive care required to relieve physical and emotional distress. The goals of are to reduce pain, ensure comfort, and preserve quality of life while alleviating the anxiety and worry of both patients and their loved ones.
For individuals with dementia, hospice care may be provided in their homes, assisted living residence, or long-term care facility. Whichever location is chosen, the following services constitute a comprehensive plan of care:
An individualized plan of care that involves a coordinated team approach to support the patient's needs
Emotional and spiritual assistance for both the patient and family.
Guidance for loved ones on caring for the patient at this time and making difficult choices in care
Advice and guidance for family members on financial issues related to care
Respite opportunities for loved ones during this difficult period
Grief and bereavement counseling
At the office of Alzheimer's Integrative Wellness Group, Dr. Andrea Holzner offers experienced guidance to help loved ones make informed choices. She also provides the compassionate support needed to deal with the emotions surrounding the final days and the aftermath of a long journey. Although the loved ones of a person with Alzheimer's disease have been grieving in many ways for a long time, it doesn't make them immune to the sense of loss that accompanies death.