Caring for someone in the final stage of life is always hard. It may be even harder when the person has AD. Of course, you want to make the person as comfortable as possible, but he or she can't tell you how. You may become frustrated because you don't know what to do. Also, it can be upsetting because you want the person to talk with you, share memories and feelings, and say goodbye. While the person with AD may not be able to say these things, you can. It's really important to say the things in your heart, whatever helps you to say goodbye.
When the person with AD dies, you may have lots of feelings. You may feel sad, depressed, or angry. You also may feel relieved that the person is no longer suffering and that you don't have to care for the person any longer. Relief sometimes may lead to feelings of guilt. All of these feelings are normal.
The National Institute on Aging offers helpful information on caregiving, including end-of-life care. Its publications may be ordered free or viewed on the NIA website. Phone: 1-800-222-2225.
Planning for the end of a person's life and knowing what to expect can make this time easier for everyone. Geriatric care managers, grief counselors, and hospice care staff are trained to help you through this time. You might want to contact hospice staff early for help on how to care for the dying person. These professionals can help make the person more comfortable. For more information about these services, see "Geriatric care managers."
Publication Date: July 2012
Page Last Updated: April 22, 2013