Most people are not aware there are actually 7 stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. The stages don’t always fall into neat boxes, and the symptoms might vary — but you can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition unfolds.
Stage 1: Normal Outward Behavior Alzheimer’s disease usually starts silently, with brain changes that begin years before anyone notices a problem. When your loved one is in this early phase, they won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, (an imaging test that shows how the brain is working), can reveal whether they have Alzheimer’s.
Stage 2: Very Mild Changes This could include forgetting words or misplacing objects. Subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with the ability to work or live independently. Important Note: Keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer’s at all, but simply normal changes from aging.
Stage 3: Mild Decline You start to notice changes in your loved one’s thinking and reasoning, such as forgetting something they just read; asking
the same question over and over; having more difficulty making plans or organizing; and/or can’t remember names when meeting new people.
Stage 4: Moderate Decline During this period, the problems in thinking and reasoning you noticed in stage 3 get more obvious, and new issues appear. Your friend or family member might forget details about themselves; have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check;
have trouble cooking meals or ordering from a menu; not understanding what is said to them; and/or struggle with multiple tasks, (house cleaning).
Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline Your loved one might start to lose track of where they are and what time it is; may have trouble remembering their address and phone number; even become confused about what kind of clothes to wear for the day or season.
Stage 6: Severe Decline As Alzheimer’s progresses, the individual may recognize faces – but forget names and mistake a person for someone else. Delusions might set in, such as thinking they need to go to work even though they no longer have a job.
At this stage, it might be a struggle to feed themselves, and get dressed. Other possible symptoms are weight loss, skin infections, trouble walking, changes in sleeping patterns, or even pneumonia.
Stage 7: Very Severe Decline Many basic abilities such as eating, walking, and sitting up, fade during this period.
WHAT CAN YOU DO to help your loved one, or a person you care about?
There are answers at every stage. My recommendation is for you to listen to my Podcast interview with Dr. Kim G. Johnson, a Geriatric Psychiatrist, who heads a Duke Health-UNC Alzheimer’s Research Center. You’ll be amazed at the advances which have been made in treating Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia – and the options available.
Listen Now CLICK HERE