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A Breakdown of the Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s



Alzheimer’s disease

Considered a common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a term to describe the gradual loss of cognitive functioning. Given that it’s a progressive disease, Alzheimer’s can lead to memory problems, such as forgetfulness, and noticeable emotional problems. There are seven stages of Alzheimer’s, and each stage of the disease affects individuals differently. Below, we explore some of the changes you can expect during each of these seven stages.

Stage One: No Impairment

The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. For this reason, ensure that your loved one is consistent with their regular primary care visits. These visits allow for screening to detect the disease in its early stages. At this stage, there are no noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

At this stage, the individual may encounter minor memory problems or basic forgetfulness. They may have a hard time remembering where they left their valuables and may start to lose things around the house. Given that this forgetfulness is a sign of normal age-related memory loss, the disease will still be undetectable.

Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline

This stage of Alzheimer’s involves noticeable memory difficulties, thus making it difficult to blame old age alone for the mild decline in cognition. Given that this stage of the disease is marked by a noticeable disruption to the activities of daily living, now is often the time when most Alzheimer’s patients receive a diagnosis. Besides misplacing personal possessions, they may also have difficulty forming the right words or phrases during a conversation. Remembering the names of acquaintances may also be difficult during this stage.

A great way to help your loved ones during this stage is by helping them with some daily tasks, such as helping them schedule appointments.

Stage Four: Moderate Decline

stages Alzheimer’s disease

During this stage, the cognitive problems that developed during the mild cognitive decline stage will become more pronounced. At this stage, you may notice that they’ll begin to forget their personal information, such as their phone number or current address. Simple tasks such as using the phone or buying groceries may also prove difficult.

To help guarantee their safety, help with everyday chores such as running to the grocery store so they don’t have to drive, or help them manage their finances by ensuring that their bills get paid.

Stage Five: Moderately Severe Decline

One of the most defining symptoms of the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s is the significant personality changes and emotional changes that occur. At this stage, the patient may begin to have delusions and hallucinations that are coupled with paranoia.

Stage Six: Severe Decline

The sixth stage of Alzheimer’s involves difficulty with communication. At this stage, you may notice that they may have trouble articulating specific thoughts, so if they were in pain, for instance, they wouldn’t know how to express the area where this pain is felt.

Stage Seven: Very Severe Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer’s disease stages

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, meaning that it destroys brain cells, causing significant brain changes that can eventually lead to physical impairment. At this stage, they’ll need professional care to help them manage basic tasks. Understanding the progression of Alzheimer’s in your loved one is a great first step towards getting them the help they need.

However, as your loved one’s cognitive function declines, they’ll also need constant supervision. If you’re their sole caregiver, this can take a toll on your financial and emotional well-being, especially as you work to make peace with the fact that someone you care about is on the decline. To offer your loved one the best support, seek help from friends, family members, and support groups for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients.

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