Stages of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s, a type of Dementia, progresses slowly when diagnosed. There are generally three stages that occur: mild, moderate, and severe; according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Due to the fact that Alzheimer’s affect everyone in different ways, the timing and severity of the symptoms varies with each person. Therefore, each case is different and the rate at which the disease progresses varies.
The three stages that are described below are an overall idea of how a person’s abilities change once these symptoms appear. This should only be used as a general guide.
Mild Alzheimer’s Disease – Early Stage
The early stage of Alzheimer’s may seem as though they are acting normal, but are just forgetful. A person may function independently. He or she is able to do normal activities, such as driving, working, or taking part in social activities. While these activities occur, the person may feel as though they are having memory lapses. Some common difficulties that a doctor may detect to determine early stage Alzheimer’s include:
- Challenges performing tasks in social or work settings
- Difficulty determining the correct word or name
- Forgetting material that one has just read
- Increasing trouble with planning or organizing
- Losing or misplacing a valuable object
Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease – Middle Stage
The middle stage, or moderate Alzheimer’s, typically lasts for many years and it is knowingly the longest stage. As the disease progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s will require a greater level of care. During this stage, the symptoms are more pronounced. Loved ones may notice the person confusing words, getting frustrated or angry, or acting in unexpected ways, such as refusing to bathe. The person will also have greater difficulty performing tasks, such as paying bills, but they may still remember significant details about their life.
Symptoms are noticeable during this stage and they include:
- Forgetfulness of events or about one’s own personal history
- Feeling moody or withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations
- Being unable to recall their own address or telephone number or the high school or college from which they graduated
- Confusion about where they are or what day it is
- The need for help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion
- Trouble controlling bladder and bowels in some individuals
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping during the day and becoming restless at night
- An increased risk of wandering and becoming lost
- Personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding
Severe Alzheimer’s Disease – Late Stage
During the final stage of the disease, the symptoms become severe. Those who are diagnosed lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation, and even control movement. Communicating becomes difficult. Personality changes may also take place when memory and cognitive skills worsen. At this stage, individuals may:
- Need round-the-clock assistance with daily activities and personal care
- Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings
- Experience changes in physical abilities, including the ability to walk, sit and, eventually, swallow
- Have increasing difficulty communicating
- Become vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia
To reiterate, these stages are general. There are times when a loved one may show symptoms that are listed in two stages, or even all. All cases are different and this guide provides general information of what to expect. Therefore, it may be difficult to place a person with Alzheimer’s in a specific stage as stages may overlap.
Your loved one, regardless of what stage they may be with Alzheimer’s, can be cared and loved for by our caregivers. Caring Loving Sharing Caregivers are here to provide the best professional in home senior care that caters to their needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services!