Understand The Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease affects millions of Americans, many of whom are in the care of family members, other loved ones and compassionate senior caregivers. If you are caring for an aging loved one and you’re concerned about the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it’s good to understand the stages that the disease goes through. Care strategies that work well during one stage might be inappropriate for another, so learning and understanding how the disease progresses can give you a much better handle on the care of your loved one, ensuring that all parties are as safe and well informed as possible.
Stage One — No Outward Signs
In the first stage of Alzheimer’s there will be no symptoms present. However, a brain scan may reveal that the disease exists.
Stage Two — Subtle Changes
Very subtle, nearly undetectable signs of Alzheimer’s may appear, but at this time, they will not affect an individual’s life adversely. These subtle changes may include forgetfulness or slight confusion, and may not necessarily be indicators of Alzheimer’s.
Stage Three — Noticeable Changes
In the third stage, you will notice small, but detectable changes in the way your loved one thinks and uses reason. If they seem less “sharp,” with declines in short-term memory ability or the ability to remember names, it could be a sign that Alzheimer’s is in this stage.
Stage Four — Obvious Changes in Thinking and Behavior
At this stage, an individual with Alzheimer’s Disease will likely need assistance at nearly all times of the day. The changes noticed in Stage Three will become more pronounced, and forgetfulness will extend into memories regarding the individual’s own life. Your loved one may even begin to forget basic information such as the current month or even the current year.
Stage Five — Greater Confusion
In this stage, the loss of memory begins to affect all aspects of your loved one’s life. They will become confused about “normal” aspects of living, requiring you and caregivers to attend more closely to simple aspects of daily living like meals or choosing the appropriate clothing.
Stage Six — Greater Severity; Greater Need for Assistance
At this stage, Alzheimer’s patients will forget names and entire identities — even their own. They will also likely require assistance in using the bathroom. Making personal connections is highly difficult, but not impossible if done through the senses. Music can be incredibly helpful when it comes to “awakening” an Alzheimer’s patients senses at this stage.
Stage Seven — Nearly Complete Decline
This stage is where Alzheimer’s has removed a patient’s ability to interact with others in personable, meaningful ways. Although you may not be able to interact in ways that are meaningful to you, you can continue to provide loving support by assisting with feeding and ensuring basic, physical comfort.
If you’re interested in learning more about the stages of Alzheimer’s, Always Best Care can help. Call us today at 1 (855) 470-CARE (2273) for more information and to schedule your FREE consultation.