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The Different Stages of Alzheimer’s

The Different Stages of Alzheimer’s

The Different Stages of Alzheimer’s

Upon diagnosis, someone living with Alzheimer’s or any other kind of degenerative neurological disorder will continue to experience symptoms that worsen over time. Each individual will experience symptoms at different periods, different rates, and in different ways. While no hard and fast distinctions can be made between different stages of the disorder, doctors and medical professionals still organize the progression in various stages. In general, three main stages exist: early stage, middle stage, and late stage Alzheimer’s.[1] But the distinctions can be broken down further into seven stages. In this blog, we will describe these seven stages briefly and then turn to what resources exist to take care of a loved one living with the disorder.

The Stages of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is considered a progressive disease. That means it is a disease that changes and worsens over time. So, the manifestations of various symptoms will also change as time goes on. The progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms must be kept in mind so that responses and treatments can be timely and effective. Below we go over the progression in seven steps.

(1) No dementia: The first stage is considered pre-clinical with no obvious symptoms of dementia at all. People who have family histories of the disorder might be aware of their risk, but this stage usually does not display the indisputable symptoms of the disorder. Rather, this stage suggests that changes may have occurred before clear symptoms manifest. In this stage, the person is still independent.[2]

(2) Very mild impairment: Some mild impairment includes forgetfulness. These symptoms may seem innocuous at first. As we age, everyone experiences some level of forgetfulness. So, it can be challenging to know when some instances of forgetfulness are even a problem. If an individual does have Alzheimer’s, then symptoms after this stage will begin to occur at a faster rate.[3]

(3) Mild impairment: These symptoms tend to worsen over a period of two to four years. Symptoms at this stage entail more forgetfulness, behavioral changes, and a decline in cognitive abilities. Common examples of these symptoms include: getting lost, misplacing valuable objects, forgetting what one just read, not remember new things, and decreases in concentration levels.[4]

(4) Mild Alzheimer’s: This stage lasts about two years. This stage usually means that the symptoms in stage 3 are more obvious. An individual might experience more forgetfulness and more difficulty doing complex tasks, like cooking.

(5) Moderately Severe Decline: This stage requires more support as the person living in this stage can no longer live as independently as before. At this stage, people and major events can be hard to recall.

(6) Moderately severe Alzheimer’s: This stage entails a loss of many functions relating to memory, behavior, and overall independence. People will likely experience difficulty putting on clothes, bathing themselves, and toileting. They will need a caregiver to assist them with such tasks. In addition, behavior problems may worsen as a result of confusion, nervousness, and loneliness.

(7) Sever Alzheimer’s: At this stage, speech has declined heavily or can be lost completely. People often lose functioning in terms of facial expressions and mobility. Body movements will become stiffer and more rigid. Unfortunately, some people will become immobile during this stage.

What to Do

If your loved one is displaying symptoms of early stage dementia, it is essential to verify whether or not dementia is the culprit. A visit to the doctor’s office can lead you and your loved one to the appropriate resources in order to receive a diagnosis. If your loved one does have dementia, then you should begin planning various systems of support, like financial, familial, and medical. Organizations like ElderCare at Home can provide families with professionally trained caregivers to suit your needs.

If you have any other questions, then please call us at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages
[2] Source: https://www.alzheimersblog.org/2016/10/27/preclinical-alzheimers-disease/#targetText=Preclinical%20Alzheimer’s%20is%20a%20newly,affected%20individuals%20or%20their%20physicians.
[3] Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-progression-alzheimers#stage2
[4] Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-progression-alzheimers#stage3