Caring for a Person with Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

MetroWest Medical Center pic

MetroWest Medical Center

As medical director of the Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry Treatment Unit at MetroWest Medical Center in Natick, Massachusetts, Dr. Antonio Bullon focuses on coordinating the treatment of patients with dementia. Dr. Antonio Bullon also has shared his expertise on television presentations about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

An individual in the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease needs around-the-clock care. The person is unable to attend to his or her own daily tasks, including eating, bathing, and dressing. Because the ability to speak also disappears as the disease advances, the person typically cannot communicate needs.

It is thus important for the caregiver to anticipate needs, such as hunger and elimination, whenever possible. A predictable schedule can help both patient and caregiver. The caregiver may also find it beneficial to reduce sensory input, such as the number of foods on a plate, in order to reduce the patient’s resistance to daily tasks of living.

The caregiver must also be attentive to the patient’s struggles and help him or her to adapt whenever possible. Finger foods can make eating more pleasant for a patient who has difficulty manipulating a fork, while protein drinks can be beneficial to someone with difficulty chewing. The patient’s physician also can help the caregiver to ensure that the person gets enough calories.

Finally, the caregiver must be aware that although the patient at this stage may not be able to communicate in the normal way, he or she is still present inside the body. A person with Alzheimer’s disease still experiences sadness, joy, loneliness, and connection, and many experts believe that his or her core self is still present and aware. Shared sensory-based experiences, such as brushing the patient’s hair or listening to music together, can dramatically improve quality of life and deepen connection beyond attention to basic physical needs.

The Peruvian American Medical Society Brings Quality Care to Peru

Peruvian American Medical Society pic

Peruvian American Medical Society

As the medical director of MetroWest Medical Canter’s geriatric and neuropsychiatry treatment unit, Dr. Antonio Bullon leads a team of medical professionals based in Natick, Massachusetts. Dr. Antonio Bullon also gives his time as a volunteer psychiatrist and supports the Peruvian American Medical Society.

The Peruvian American Medical Society (PAMS) is a network of more than 400 American physicians who are dedicated to service efforts in Peru. Throughout the organization’s 40-year history, members have embarked on more than 100 service trips to Peru, helping thousands of underserved patients gain access to free medical care.

One of the organization’s longest ongoing missions is the Arequipa mission, which established and continues to support the only burn unit at the Arequipa Regional Hospital Honorio Delgado. The permanent mission has brought medical technology and an array of specialized surgeons over the last 20 years, allowing local physicians to treat approximately 3,000 patients each year.

Programs in Harvard’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine

Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School


The medical director of MetroWest Medical Center’s Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry Treatment Unit, Dr. Antonio Bullon has served as a physician and psychiatrist for 27 years. In addition to his work at MetroWest in Natick, Massachusetts, Dr. Antonio Bullon is an assistant professor of psychiatry and senior consultant for the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Established in the 1980s, the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine puts to work research gleaned from social sciences and humanities investigation to improve medical practice and treatment as well as health care policy around the world. The department oversees numerous programs including economics, family care for the elderly, noncommunicable disease, and mental health.

– Economics: This program’s many objectives include the development of a team of scientists with expertise in global health delivery and the establishment of training platforms for students of global health, both at Harvard and beyond.

– Family Care for the Elderly: With this program, the department strives to facilitate the exchange of information between medical and social researchers and “social thinkers” in order to develop better approaches to family care. Health care training is also administered through this program.

– Noncommunicable Disease: The three-fold objective of this program involves the investigation of noncommunicable diseases around the world using social, medical, and historical fields of thought, the development of health initiatives, and the training of medical personnel, researchers, and policy makers.

– Mental Health: Focusing on the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean, this program works to support and evaluate community efforts in intervention, prevention, and diagnosis of mental health issues, as well as documenting the cultural and social influences that affect these conditions.