Although early-stage dementia emerges as a memory disorder that commonly affects the aging mind, the end-stage effects are extensive and the illness is terminal. Based on new research, experts have redefined advanced dementia as fatal failure of the brain.
The study revealed that patients who reach the end stages of dementia need comfort and care, but not aggressive intervention that that offers no hope of improving patient outcomes. Lead study author Dr. Susan L. Mitchell from the Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research in Boston, said that dementia currently affects approximately 5 million Americans, and the number is expected to triple by 2050. Mitchell also pointed out, “Dementia is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and yet surprisingly little is known about how these patients die.”
To learn more about what happens during the advanced stages of dementia, the researchers conducted an analysis of 323 advanced dementia patients in 22 nursing homes. According to Mitchell, the patients included in the study were unable to recognize family members, and were unable to speak six words. In addition, they were incontinent and totally dependent on other people for their most basic care.
Labels: Neeru Bajwa