I think it’s very difficult to tease out what the morphine’s used for, which can make people sleepy and sedated, but also more comfortable. Is it the morphine, or is it the fact that the person is dying and that’s why they’re not conscious? But they’re comfortable on the morphine. I would say the main goals of caring are to keep someone comfortable and to alleviate distress. It can help them breathe more easily. It’s a very different situation when you have a younger person with cancer who is on a small dose of morphine, but he’s up and about and able to talk. But when someone’s in the very advanced stages of dementia, it could just be that they’re going into the process of dying. We have this concept of dying from programs like ER and the media that we’ll suddenly clutch our chest and keel over, and that will be it. What we don’t see in society nowadays, and what people understood one hundred years ago when more people died at home, is that dying is a process, and it can be a very slow journey over a few days or a week, as our body’s gradually shutting down
How does morphine help in the last stages of Alzheimer’s?
By Bill Fisher | October 21st, 2020