Common Characteristics and Time Periods of Each Stage of Alzheimer’s

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While Alzheimer’s impacts every person differently, many people’s experiences follow a similar trajectory. Alzheimer’s researchers have tried to clarify this trajectory via phase models. While some experts stick to a simple three-phase model, the most popular system was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, who identified the following seven distinct stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Stage 1: Preclinical

In stage one, seniors with Alzheimer’s have no noticeable symptoms. Their lives are not affected by symptoms such as memory loss, and they may not have received a diagnosis yet. This stage can last for years, even decades.

Stage 2: Very Mild Impairment

During the second stage of Alzheimer’s, seniors start to experience mild memory problems that don’t usually have a big impact on their lifestyle and may be difficult to distinguish from ordinary age-related memory lapses. Seniors in this stage might call a family member by the wrong name or take longer to remember basic words. This stage usually lasts a few years.

Stage 3: Mild Impairment

The third stage of Alzheimer’s is when the condition begins to interfere with daily life. This stage usually lasts for five to ten years, during which the symptoms become increasingly apparent. During stage three, seniors may have difficulty learning new things, notice a decrease in productivity or skills, and have a hard time navigating.

Stage 4: Mild Alzheimer’s

As seniors enter stage four of Alzheimer’s, the condition becomes easily diagnosable. New symptoms manifest, including changes in mood and emotional response. Tasks that used to be easy may now pose a real challenge, and seniors may start to have difficulty paying the bills, following conversations, and remembering personal details. This phase usually lasts for about two years. 

At this stage, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a professional caregiver with specialized training in Alzheimer’s care, which includes unique methods designed to boost cognitive health. The type of home care Montgomery, AL, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

Stage 5: Moderate Alzheimer’s

During stage five, seniors may need daily support from experienced caregivers. Memory loss is felt more acutely in this stage. While seniors likely remember their name and the names of family members, they may have a difficult time recalling most other details. For instance, they may not remember where they live or what the weather was like the last time they went outside. Seniors with moderate Alzheimer’s are rarely able to live independently. They may be able to fulfill some of the tasks of daily living, such as personal grooming, but they may face challenges with basic decision-making, such as selecting weather-appropriate footwear. This stage usually lasts one or two years. 

Families often take on the task of caregiving themselves, but seniors with Alzheimer’s may need a level of care that families simply aren’t able to provide. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Montgomery Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Stage 6: Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s

Stage six occurs over a two-and-a-half-year period. During this stage, seniors need help with most tasks, including choosing their clothes and getting dressed, performing hygiene tasks, and using the toilet. Memory issues worsen, and seniors have difficulty regulating their emotions, running the gamut from paranoia to shame. Communication skills also decrease during this stage.

Stage 7: Severe Alzheimer’s

This stage can last anywhere from one to ten years. It’s characterized by notable decreases in speech and mobility. During this stage, seniors may also develop tissue contractures, which further limit the ability to move independently and respond to the environment.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating, both for the individual and his or her family. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s home care. Montgomery Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (334) 593-3988 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.

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