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Huntington's Disease Caregiving

Late Intermediate Stage
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CLINICAL DEFINITIONS
Late Intermediate Stage
Stated in positive terms from the person's point-of-view.

Compassion

"I'm sorry for the trouble I'm causing my family and everyone else who cares for me.

I wish I could do something to help them."!"

 Intermediate stages

As the disease progresses, the symptoms become worse. The initial motor symptoms will gradually develop into more obvious involuntary movements such as jerking and twitching of the head, neck, arms and legs. These movements may interfere with walking, speaking and swallowing.

People at this stage of Huntington's often look as if they're drunk: they stagger when they walk and their speech is slurred. They have increasing difficulty working or managing a household, but can still deal with most activities of daily living.

Late Intermediate Stage

The person can no longer work and/or manage household responsibilities. They need considerable help or supervision to handle daily financial affairs. Other daily activities may be slightly difficult but usually only require minor help.

Middle Stages

In the middle stage involuntary movements (chorea) may become more pronounced. A staggering gait can sometimes be mistaken for drunkenness.

Speech and swallowing will begin to be affected. It is important to consult a speech therapist who will be able to offer suggestions and strategies for improving communication and swallowing abilities. Likewise, occupational and physical therapists can develop programs to help maintain the highest level of functioning and thereby improve quality of life.

Thinking and reasoning skills will also gradually diminish. At this stage it may become increasingly difficult to hold a job and to carry out household responsibilities.

Here again, simple strategies may be employed to help decrease frustration, increase functioning and prolong independence. For example, disorientation and short-term memory loss can be addressed by labeling drawers, maintaining a daily routine and posting a calendar appointments and events.

Resources