Caregiving and total mouth care
In the late stages of Alzheimer's people can become so debilitated and unable to care for themselves that the caregiver has to carry out all aspects of their nursing care.
Your job, as caregiver is to make the person as comfortable as possible, maintain their dignity and look after them to the best of your ability. Mouth care is just one aspect of caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's disease.
Mouth care should carried out gently every morning, evening and after each meal.
Use a soft tooth brush to gently clean the teeth. Do not put on much toothpaste or fluid as it can cause choking or distress. You can also gently use the brush to clean the tongue if appropriate.
Never force open the mouth.
A small moist swab on forceps can help clean and refresh the mouth.
Tell the person what you are doing and why. Talk gently and use simple sentences. Never assume the person does not understand. Maintain touch and reassure them.
Encourage the person to drink frequently. Even small quantities of clear fluid will help keep their mouth fresher and minimize the chance of soreness and infection.
Mouthwash can be helpful. Small quantities can be given. Putting someone on their side will help prevent choking and allow the fluids to wash around the mouth and trickle out without difficulty.
A small quantity of glycerin on the tongue will help increase salivation and tastes nice.
Externally, the person's lips can be kept moist by using Vaseline, or a flavored lip balm.