Most experts break down Alzheimer’s disease into 7 Stages. It is important to note that these are general guidelines for the stages and that not every person will exhibit the same symptoms or progress at the same rate. Here are the 7 Stages:
- Stage 1- No Impairment: Cognitive abilities are normal. There are no memory problems.
- Stage 2- Minimal Impairment/Very Mild Cognitive Decline: There are moments of normal forgetfulness, but memory lapses are rarely noticed by friends, family, co-workers, or medical personnel.
- Stage 3- Early Confusion/Mild Cognitive Decline: Individuals begin to have problems coming up with the right word or name and tend to forget names when they meet new people. They experience difficulty remembering things they just read and tend to lose or misplace valuable objects. Depression and mood changes can also occur. Duration: 2-7 years.
- Stage 4- Moderate Cognitive Decline/Mild Alzheimer’s: Individuals tend to forget recent events and have trouble handling challenging mental arithmetic. Most people still know themselves and their family. Problems can arise carrying out sequential tasks. Often individuals in this stage tend to withdraw from social situations, become defensive, and deny problems. Duration: Roughly 2 years.
- Stage 5- Early Dementia/Moderate Alzheimer’s disease: Gaps in memory and thinking are noticeable. Decline is more severe and requires assistance. Individuals have a hard time recalling their own address, phone number, or personal history details. They can often become confused about where they are or what day it is. There is severe decline in judgment skills and numerical abilities. Help is needed with daily living tasks such as dressing or feeding. Duration: Average of 1.5 years.
- Stage 6- Severe Cognitive Decline/Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s: Individuals tend to lose awareness of recent experiences as well as have trouble accurately remembering the past. Daily living activities such as dressing, eating, and toileting all require assistance. People in this stage tend to experience major changes in sleep patterns, dramatic personality changes, hallucinations, wandering, and forgetting close family members. Duration: Approximately 2.5 years.
- Stage 7- Severe Dementia/Failure to Thrive: In this final stage individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, control movement, and walk or sit. Muscles grow ridged; the ability to smile may be lost; swallowing can become impaired. Around the clock assistance and care is needed. Duration: Impacted by the quality of care. Average length is 1-2.5 years.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is likely that Alzheimer’s has already progressed to Stage 3 or 4. It is never too early to start looking into Alzheimer’s Care facilities. Please visit our Alzheimer’s Care page to find facilities nearest you.