I used to think the signs of the end stage would be very straight forward - first, it is incontinence as in stage 6, then the patient will stop walking/talking, and then eating problems followed by swallowing problem and death.
My father-in-law has swallowing problems that caused pneumonia today and he takes baby foods most of the times. Now he hates solid food. He can still walk with the cane around the block and he is talking like "normal" speech. Sometimes he got ear wax so he could not hear well at times, but everything except the eating shows that he is still in stage 6, which is not the end stage 7.
The caregivers told me it is possible he can have eating problem first and could die from it in the future and does not have stop walking or talking. Does this happen often to the late stage Alzheimer's patient? It's so hard to watch and not know how much longer we may have with him.
Symptoms of dementia can be different for everybody, and no two individuals experience the illness exactly alike. Inability to eat is indeed a problem for many individuals with end-stage dementia. The body can slow down in such a way that eliminates hunger, and/or the enjoyment of food. It is not uncommon for a person to simply stop eating because he or she forgot, or not take pleasure in food as before. Some individuals can even lose the ability to chew or swallow, which can make eating dangerous at times. When food is forced despite the individual’s inability to accept it, aspiration can result. This can later lead to pneumonia, which is often the cause of death for people with Alzheimer’s disease.When eating is concerned, watch out for the following problems:- Storing food in the mouth (especially in the cheeks), rather than swallowing.- Resisting to eat regularly- Trouble ingesting thin liquids- Coughing or choking- Spitting up or vomiting Always consult with a physician when you see symptoms and ask how much food the individual needs at this stage of his or her life.