Dementia is an awful condition that can potentially wreck a person’s life. It is a challenging and life-changing condition that exhausts not only the patient but also the caregivers. Dementia symptoms such as the mouth hanging open kick in unexpectedly, leaving the patient and caregiver in a management crisis.
Primary caregivers of dementia patients live in the daily lives of a person with dementia and are the first to notice changes in behavior or when dementia symptoms get worse. Although there is no actual harm in a dementia patient’s mouth hanging open, it could be concerning if the mouth hangs open all the time.
At first, it might seem as if the dementia patient is not breathing properly through their nose, but if they can breathe properly, it is not normal for their mouth to hang open all the time.
In our insightful guide, we dive into the issue of dementia mouth hanging open. We delve into why dementia patients experience this issue and offer practical tips for caregivers.
2 Reasons Why Dementia Patient Mouth Hangs Open
If you have a loved one with dementia and their mouth hangs open, here is why this might be happening:
Dementia patients are prone to getting respiratory infections such as pneumonia. There are cases where dementia patients cannot breathe sufficiently through their noses. This causes them to have to breathe through the mouth which leads them to have their mouth hang open.
Dementia affects the brain severely and leads to loss of memory and failure to do the most natural body processes. If you have noticed that your loved one hangs their mouth open but as soon as you remind them to close their mouth, they can close it, it is their brain failing to send signals to hold their mouth closed.
You’ll also notice that after you remind a dementia patient to close their mouth, they will forget and hang it open after a while.
Sometimes, it is not that something is wrong with the brain when a dementia patient hangs their mouth open. It could be dentures not fitting well in their mouth. This causes soreness in the mouth which could lead them to hang their mouth open for relief.
If your elderly loved one is experiencing oral health issues, visit a dental health practitioner. Check out the video belong for amazing oral health tips for seniors;
Dementia Patients Constantly Moving Their Mouth
Another issue related to the mouth that some dementia patients experience is repetitive mouth movement. You might notice that your loved one with dementia keeps moving their mouth without saying anything.
This is called perseveration. Perseverations is when someone has a repetitive response or gesture. It is a condition mostly in seniors who have Alzheimer’s.
Perseveration also causes lip-smacking in dementia patients and other repetitive behaviors such as feet tapping or clapping.
Can You Tell When a Dementia Patient Is Approaching Their End?
Dementia patients deteriorate over time and get worse in the end stages. Although a person with dementia may die of other health conditions, the end stages of dementia are characterized by a weak immune system that might cause them to die of related infections. Here’s what the end of a dementia patient looks like:
During the Last Few Months
- Dementia patient experiences frequent hospital admissions
- Speech deterioration where they speak less each day
- Suffering from other health conditions such as heart problems
- Inability to walk upright
- Inability to sit without support
- Eating and swallowing problems
During the last few weeks
- Dementia patients can barely swallow anything
- They have changes in their breathing patterns
- Sleeping most of the time
- They drift into unconsciousness
- Increased restlessness
- They experience cold hands and feet
How To Manage End Stages Of Dementia
The end stages of dementia can be quite painful for the patient and the caregivers. Here’s how you can manage:
- Be keen on how they communicate. Respond to increased sweating, moaning, or yelling
- Focus on giving them physical comfort
- Keep them company
- Put on the music they like listening to
- Consider getting palliative care
How Long Does the Final Stage of Dementia Last?
The last stages could go on for a few months to 3 years. During this time it is hard to care for a dementia patient as their condition deteriorates.
How Quickly Do Dementia Patients Deteriorate?
The progression of dementia is different for each patient. Some seniors with dementia have wild changes in days, while others deteriorate slowly over months or years.
Should Dementia Patients Watch TV?
It is beneficial for dementia patients to feel entertained and occupied. TV is good for dementia patients but should not be the only activity they do all day. Watching a great show on TV can boost moods and increase socialization for dementia patients.
What Do Dementia Patients Watch On TV?
Seniors with dementia enjoy watching reality shows. Reality shows give them something to keep up with. The ambient video also sits well with dementia patients.
Is It Okay To Leave a Dementia Patient Alone?
It is not safe to leave a dementia patient alone. Dementia patients have incidents of wandering, frequent falls, hallucinations, episodes of anxiety, and slow responsiveness. Leaving them unsupervised could cause harm to them.
Dementia patients experience many physical changes related to their condition. Seniors with dementia hang their mouths open due to bad dentures, failure of brain signals, or to breathe properly. You might also notice that a dementia patient has frequent mouth movements. Dementia leads to rapid deterioration and gets worse as the end comes.