The later stages of dementia


Dementia is a progressive condition for which there is currently no cure, so it’s important to be prepared and to know what to expect at the final stages.

As dementia progresses, the person with dementia will gradually become more dependent on others for all their care. Most people in the later stages of dementia will need full nursing care and are often in a residential care facility, while some will continue to be cared for at home.

Knowing what to expect can help everyone – including the person with dementia – to prepare for what’s coming. Any stage of dementia, from diagnosis through to the later stages, has its special moments but also distressing times and this can be particularly challenging and stressful.

Remember that you are not alone – help is only a phone call away. Contact your local organisation here or call 0800 004 001.

The End of Life Choice Act comes into effect 6th November 2021. Alzheimers NZ is waiting for further information on how the Act will be implemented before providing any comment relating to people living with dementia. In the meantime if you have any questions we recommend that you speak to your GP or health professional.


Preparing for the later stages
What happens in the later stages
Health problems in the later stages
Towards the end
Coping after death


Booklet: The later stages of dementia
A guide for people with dementia and their family/whānau

This booklet is designed to provide information about what to expect in the last stage of dementia. It highlights some issues that may be useful to consider, including what happens as the end of life nears and after death has occurred. 

Click here to download the booklet (PDF).