Dementia Care at the End of Life
Following a diagnosis of dementia it is perfectly possible that you or a loved one may continue to live a happy and fulfilled life for many years afterwards.
However, dementia is a progressive degenerative condition and one for which there is currently no known cure. This means that a person who is diagnosed with dementia, will still have dementia when they eventually die.
In its later stages, dementia can impair cognitive function to the extent that it becomes difficult if not impossible for people to clearly communicate their wishes and feelings. For this reason, although it may be difficult, if you, your partner or a loved one is diagnosed with dementia it makes sense to discuss and arrange appropriate end of life care at the earliest opportunity.
Planning ahead for end of life care as soon as possible after dementia is diagnosed enables an individual to make their own choices about the type of care and assistance they wish to receive when they are in the final stages of the condition. This helps to ensure that they are treated with the respect and dignity to which they are entitled, that physical and emotional pain are effectively managed and that they are in the place they wish to be, whether this is their own home, a care home, a nursing home or a hospice.
Discussions about death are never easy, but with dementia it is better for you or your loved one to talk about planning for the future with family, friends, care providers and medical professionals sooner rather than later. This will ensure that your wishes are acknowledged and understood and can be acted upon at the appropriate time.
Important aspects to think about when planning for dementia care at the end of life include:
- Exploring the range of care options that is open to you
- Discussing and writing down your own desires and wishes for end of life care, which might include your preferred location for care and your funeral arrangements
- How financial and legal arrangements will be dealt with, including the funding of care fees and making of a will
- Your right to refuse specific treatments or medications or to be resuscitated
- Using a solicitor to grant a Lasting Power of Attorney to someone you trust who can manage your affairs and make decisions upon your behalf
Arranging appropriate care in the later stages of dementia is essential for maintaining comfort, security and quality of life. Emotional and spiritual support too should always be available to the person with dementia and their loved ones and friends.
As a person with dementia, you or your loved one retains the right to choose how and where continuing care is received at the end of life. Forward planning from the moment that the condition is diagnosed can ensure that you receive the care that most closely suits your individual needs and that you are treated with the dignity and respect you deserve.
Since 2009 the Good Care Group has established itself as one the UK’s leading providers of live-in home care and person-centric support and assistance plans which enable people with dementia to lead an independent and fulfilled life. You can find out more about our one-on-one dementia care services here. Alternatively, to speak to someone about your dementia care requirements please call 0203 728 7577.