All About Alzheimer’s: What Are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s?
Are you worried a loved one might be suffering with Alzheimer’s?
It is important that anyone suffering with Alzheimer’s gets the right help when they need it. This will let them continue to live comfortable and fulfilled lives . But most of us don’t know what to expect with Alzheimer’s which can make knowing how to help a difficult task.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on to learn the seven stages of Alzheimer’s so you know what to look out for.
This section will look at the first three stages to watch out for. But in the first three stages below, an individual is not considered to have Alzheimer’s.
1. No Impairment
At stage one, you can’t detect Alzheimer’s. A person will display no memory loss or impairment. There will be no symptoms evident of the disease. You may see this stage also referred to as “No Cognitive Decline”.
2. Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Over half of people 65+ in the US have subjective functional or cognitive issues. The nature of these subjective complaints is telling.
People with these symptoms believe they can’t remember names like they used to 10 years ago. They may also start to believe they can’t remember where they put things down.
It’s also common for them to say they experience subjective difficult in concentration. Or finding it hard to get the right words when they’re talking.
The best term for this is age-related forgetfulness. These symptoms won’t be noticeable to those around them, or anyone observing. Normal age-related forgetfulness will usually be benign.
3. Mild Cognitive Decline
At stage three people experience increased levels of forgetfulness. They may also have more noticeable issues concentrating. These symptoms can manifest in a decrease in work performance for those still at work.
For those who aren’t working, they may struggle with paying bills or cleaning. They may start to get lost, or struggle to get to the words they want to say when talking. At stage three, you’re likely to start noticing these symptoms as an outside family member.
When reaching stage 4, a person categorizes as having early-stage Alzheimer’s.
4. Moderate Cognitive Decline
At this stage the first real signs of what we would recognise as Alzheimer’s apparent. This is described as early-stage Alzheimer’s. In this stage, people will experience even more forgetfulness. Often this will be things to have happened recently.
They will also have increased issues with concentration and solving puzzles or problems. There will be issues with money management as well.
When going to new/unfamiliar areas your relative may struggle alone. They struggle to complete complicated tasks or express themselves in a well-organized way.
People in stage four may start to go into denial about their symptoms. As socialization gets more difficult, they may retreat and withdraw from loved ones. Healthcare providers can identify stage four patients with ease. They will conduct a thorough examination and interview process.
Stage five sets the beginning of the mid-stage Alzheimer’s phase. This phase continues through to the sixth stage as well.
5. Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage five is characterised by sufferers losing track of themselves; their location, the time and what they are doing. They may struggle to remember addresses and telephone numbers.
Or they may struggle remembering details of their past. It could also manifest in confusion about what sorts of clothes to wear for the season or weather.
Here you can help by setting out their clothes for them for the morning. This helps your loved one continue to dress themselves and keep feeling independent.
You may find that they may repeat questions more than once in quick succession. If this happens, answer them like usual in an even, reassuring tone. Often, it’s not because they want to know the answer, it’s to make sure you’re there.
Even when your loved one struggles to remember memories or facts; they can still tell stories. So, invite them to use their imagination and make up a story for you and listen to them.
6. Severe Cognitive Decline
At stage six, your loved one will need care for their daily activities. They may start to not remember recent events, and forget the names of those closest to them.
A lot of people in stage six won’t remember much of their early life. They’ll also have problems with cognitive skills, like counting back from 10 down to 1.
Speech will diminish. And they may also start suffering with bowel and bladder incontinence. You will start to notice big changes to their personality too. Agitation, delusions, and anxiety are all common.
Stage seven, makes up the last phase that’s considered late-stage Alzheimer’s.
7. Very Severe Cognitive Decline
This is the last part of the progression of Alzheimer’s. When people reach very severe cognitive decline, they have often lost the ability to communicate or speak.
They need help with most of their activities need. This ranges from eating and dressing to bathing and toileting. At this point sufferers need dedicated and constantly available care.
A lot of people at stage seven also either can’t walk anymore or need a lot of help to do so. Alzheimer’s is a disease of progression. The speed of progression will vary from person to person. But you should familiarise yourselves with these stages.
Living with Alzheimer’s is a huge challenge for the person with it and those around them. But know what to expect and what you can do will help take away some of the stress and worry.
Living with Alzheimer’s
If you want to ensure a loved one with Alzheimer’s gets the care and support they need, then contact us at Baxter Senior Living. Our Memory Care retirement community is specifically designed for residents that require extra care due to Alzheimer’s and related Dementia. As the gold standard for senior living communities, you can be sure that your loved one will be cared for in a safe and reassuring environment.