Understanding the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
In the U.S. alone, statistics show that some five million people aged 65 or over are affected by Alzheimer’s. Every individual copes with Alzheimer’s differently, and it’s important to remember that the stages may progress slower or faster depending on the individual. Home Care Assistance Dayton explains the seven stages of Alzheimer’s so families can assess the care needs of their senior loved ones.
Early Impairment – Stage 1
Many individuals aren’t diagnosed during this stage of Alzheimer’s disease because their memory and cognitive skills seem unimpaired and unchanged. Seniors may misplace items and experience short-term memory loss, but otherwise there are few symptoms to implicate Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors can experience the first stage of Alzheimer’s for any number of years before it progresses.
Normal Forgetfulness – Stage 2
This stage may also go unrecognized because it is often confused with normal signs of aging. About half of people over age 65 have some difficulty with forgetfulness and word recall, and this can be a normal byproduct of old age. Even medical professionals have a difficult time distinguishing the difference between aging and AD. As with the first stage of Alzheimer’s, seniors can live with the second stage for many years before the disease advances.
Early Confusion – Stage 3
During this stage, the signs of Alzheimer’s become more noticeable, though many seniors discount these symptoms as simply getting older. Elderly people may be embarrassed by the symptoms and do their best to cover up the issues. At this stage, seniors have difficulty with planning and organizing. They may have trouble recalling fairly normal words or retaining new information, and depression is quite common. The early confusion stage generally lasts between two and seven years.
Late Confusion – Stage 4
Alzheimer’s signs are most noticeable during the late confusion stage. Recent conversations are often forgotten, though most people still recognize their families and remember major life events. Seniors have trouble with sequential tasks such as driving, cooking, and chores. Often, this stage lasts for about two years.
Early Dementia – Stage 5
During this stage, in-home assistance from Dayton caregivers is usually required. In addition to struggling with daily tasks, a senior with early dementia may have difficulty remembering important information like home address, personal allergies, or emergency phone numbers. Seniors become disoriented and struggle with personal care, which is why home care is a useful option. This stage usually lasts between one and two years.
Middle Dementia – Stage 6
People with middle dementia experience severe cognitive and mental decline. At this stage, seniors do not understand current events and both long and short-term memories are compromised. Individuals may not remember who close family members are, but can usually identify that the person is familiar. Dramatic personality changes such as irritability, hallucinations, and suspicion of loved ones may occur during this stage. This stage lasts about two-and-a-half years.
Late Dementia/Failure to Thrive – Stage 7
During this final phase of the disease, speech becomes limited or impossible. Understanding of basic movements such as walking or sitting may be limited or entirely gone. Round-the-clock care is needed for all daily care functions. Generally the length of this stage is based largely on the quality of care a senior receives, but it can last one or two years.
One thing families can do to feel in control of a loved one’s health is to learn about the progression of Alzheimer’s and make care plans early on so they can focus on enjoying time with their loved ones. Let Home Care Assistance help your loved one through each stage of the disease with our reliable Alzheimer’s care in Dayton. Our compassionate caregivers will monitor your loved one’s safety and help him or her with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and personal care to help enhance life quality. Call us today at 937.353.7997 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
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