Understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s and the related symptoms is helpful for caregivers and family members. While each person with Alzheimer’s progresses differently, an understanding of the stages is important when diagnosing and treating the disease.
The 4 stages of Alzheimer’s
1. Pre-clinical Stage:
Years before any symptoms of Alzheimer’s are noticed, changes in the brain are occurring. This stage can last for several years unbeknownst to the person.
2. Mild Alzheimer’s Disease (early-stage):
During this stage, your loved one probably can still function independently. Working, driving a car, and participating in social activities are still possible. The person, as well as friends and family, will most likely start noticing memory lapses.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, common difficulties during this stage include:
- Problems coming up with the right word or name
- Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
- Having greater difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings
- Forgetting material that one has just read
- Losing or misplacing a valuable object
- Increasing trouble with planning or organizing
3. Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (middle-stage):
Full-time care frequently is required for a person with moderate Alzheimer’s. This middle stage is the lengthiest stage, lasting for many years. Symptoms become very obvious and may 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- Feeling moody or withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations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
(from Alzheimer’s Association)
4. Severe Alzheimer’s Disease (late-stage):
When a person with Alzheimer’s is no longer able to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation or, control movement they have entered severe/late-stage Alzheimer’s. During this stage, communicating their needs is difficult or impossible. Personality changes are likely. Also, the person becomes much more susceptible to illness and/or infections. During this stage, your senior loved one may:
- Require full-time, around-the-clock assistance with daily personal care
- Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings
- Require high levels of assistance with daily activities and personal care
- Experience changes in physical abilities, including the ability to walk, sit and, eventually, swallow
- Have increasing difficulty communicating
- Become vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia
(from Alzheimer’s Association)
With a better understanding of the stages of Alzheimer’s, one can see how utilizing home care can help. Select Home Care Pasadena specializes in home care for Alzheimer’s patients. Our dementia caregivers can help with personal care such as hygiene, toileting, dressing, oral care, hair care, etc., when these types of activities become difficult. In addition to helping with personal care, our staff will often help clients suffering from dementia by assisting with daily living activities, including light housekeeping, transportation, meal planning and preparation, errands and general activities of daily living.
If your loved one is affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia, please contact Select Home Care Pasadena to set up a free consultation.