My mother is 74 and has late stage Alzheimer's. She needs help with every activity of daily living, from getting out of bed, to going to the bathroom, showering, dressing, eating, etc.
She has lost her ability to communicate, although she talks quite a bit -- it's just gibberish though. She recognizes me, but no longer knows my name (she can't respond to "What is my name?" or "What is your name?").
She can walk as long as she is assisted (she leans back a lot), but she seems to tire easily, and shuffles. She does sleep a lot, and when not asleep, spends a fair amount of time with her eyes closed. She does have periods where she's more "present." She'll sit up on her own, and watch television, or just look at me for a long time. Mornings, right when I get her up is when we connect the most... she'll pat my cheek and say something that sounds a lot like "My Baby..."
Meals can take between 1 and 2 hours, and she doesn't really eat a lot. She has to be fed, because she isn't able to manage a spoon or fork, or glass. If her eyes are open, she will open her mouth, but it's hard to get food into it. And her eyes are closed more than they're open. Once the food is in her mouth, she will chew for a long time, and eventually swallow. Liquids are tougher than solids... she will hold liquids in her mouth for a long time, then eventually swallow (or, every once in a while, spit it out the liquid).
So my question is... does anyone have any experience with this type of situation? I'm trying to figure out if I'm forcing food on her... if I ask her if she doesn't want to eat anymore, sometimes she nods yes, other times no, most of the time, she doesn't respond. I know this is a difficult judgment call, but I'm hoping that someone that's had experience with a range of people with Alzheimer's might have some insight they could share with