Watching a loved one move through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease is never easy. Sadness, anger, and frustration are just a few emotions caregivers experience. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding your loved one’s diagnosis. Here is an overview of the seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Stage One: No Clinical Impairment. A person with Alzheimer’s won’t experience any symptoms during the first stage of the disease. They won’t notice any memory impairment or cognitive decline. Only a sensitive imaging technology scan will be able to reveal they have the disease.
- Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline. During the second stage, your loved one may begin to experience occasional forgetfulness. They may lose things around the house or misplace their keys more often. Symptoms are barely detectable and often dismissed as normal, age-related changes.
- Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline. People with Alzheimer’s disease will continue to experience increased forgetfulness throughout the third stage of the disease. Close friends and family usually notice changes around this time. Your loved one may have a harder time concentrating and focusing on basic tasks. Finding the right words during a conversation and remembering the name of someone they just met may also become increasingly difficult.
- Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline. Stage four is often called early-stage dementia. The symptoms of your loved one’s disease will become apparent, and their short-term memory will continue to decline. They may have trouble remembering recent events, lose the ability to concentrate, struggle to solve problems, and have a hard time managing their finances. It’s not uncommon for people to lose the ability to drive safely during this stage.
- Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline. Your loved one may struggle to perform day-to-day activities during stage five. For example, they may have a hard time dressing appropriately or remembering information like their address or phone number. They may also ask the same question repeatedly. Do your best to stay patient and remain empathetic of their condition.
- Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline. During the sixth stage, a person with dementia may struggle to remember recent events. They may even forget close friends’ and family members’ names. It’s not uncommon for personality changes to occur, along with increased anxiety and agitation. Your loved one will require supervision and a fair amount of assistance with day-to-day activities.
- Stage Seven: Very Severe Cognitive Decline. Stage seven, commonly referred to as late dementia, is the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. When your loved one reaches this stage, they will lose their ability to communicate and struggle to respond to their environment. They may even lose their ability to swallow. Because of the extent of their disease, they will require around-the-clock care.
Alzheimer’s Progresses Differently for Everyone
Everyone experiences Alzheimer’s disease differently, but the symptoms follow a similar path. Learning this path can help family caregivers track the course of the disease and prepare for upcoming challenges.
Heritage Provides Specialized Dementia Care
Heritage Senior Communities provides specialized dementia care in Michigan. Our experienced staff members know how to navigate the different stages of Alzheimer’s and understand the unique challenges that arise as the disease progresses. Contact us today to learn more about our specialized dementia care or to schedule a tour of one of our communities near you.