How can we, family and carepartners, support the people we know living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?
Keeping loved ones stimulated and providing ability-based care and support cannot be overstated. At NursePartners, we recognize the GEMS™ model as an effective method for providing a treatment plan for individuals affected by dementia. Click here for an introductory overview of the classification system describing the stages of the journey.
By appreciating what is changing and what is still possible, we can provide care that is more effective and less challenging.
Stage 3 – Severe/Late (lasts about one 1-3 years) – Rubies and Pearls
As dementia moves into the final stage, it can be difficult to know how to meet needs. Many lose their ability to control movement and respond to the environment. As memory and cognitive skills worsen, your loved one may need extensive help with daily activities.
The goal of care at this stage is to focus on preserving dignity and quality of life. Although your loved one may lose the ability talk and express needs, you can still connect with them, enjoying interactions and experiences of their past life.
About Rubies and Pearls
Rubies experience late stage changes as fine motor skills are very limited. Losses in depth perception, as well as limited visual awareness and major sensory changes result in needed assistance with utensils, brushing, buttoning and moving. Hand-under-hand assistance helps rubies feel safe and secure. Suggested activities together include: reading, playing music, and looking through old photos.
Pearls are still and quiet, unable to actively move or respond, with limited awareness of the world. Pearls enjoy pleasant sounds and familiar voices, grasping onto moments of connection. Whether it’s the smell of their favorite perfume, or a beloved radio program, these small experiences can help capture a moment in time and evoke pleasant memories. Being present, patient, and understanding with your loved one will help them escape feelings of isolation associated with late stage Alzheimer’s.
Planning the Day
- Tailor the environment with the interests of your loved one. This can allow them to emotionally connect to things they previously enjoyed.
- Plan the days to have a balance of restful and active periods to help your loved ones transition slowly and gradually from one to the other.
- Observe the person for signs of stress. Keep lights low and noise to a minimum. Consider visiting in smaller numbers.
- Use your voice to engage and encourage, talking quietly to tell stories and reminiscing about past events.
- Discover which eye they use for vision. Do not obstruct their line of site and get on or below eye level when speaking with them.
At this point in the disease, the world is primarily experienced through the senses. You can express your caring through touch, sound, sight, taste and smell.
Activities for Rubies and Pearls
- Playing their favorite music
- Reminiscing about past events
- Reading portions of books that have meaning for the person
- Looking at old photos together
- Preparing a favorite food
- Rubbing lotion with a favorite scent into the skin
- Brushing their hair
- Sitting outside together on a nice day
NursePartners is committed to providing uncompromised care to those living with a diagnosis of dementia. Our carepartners are trained in the Positive Approach to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care (GEMS™) and work with families to enable safety, comfort and happiness through home-care services.
If your loved one need home care assistance or relief, our team would love to help.