There is often a stigma associated with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Many often relate a diagnosis immediately to end stage signs and symptoms. However, Alzheimer’s disease occurs in various stages, each of which moving at their own pace. While it is possible individuals may progress through the stages quicker than others, it’s important to note a diagnosis does not signify the end.
Throughout the various stages of Alzheimer’s disease it is important to understand the signs and symptoms so you can understand how the disease may be progressing. It is also helpful to understand in order to plan for various services that may be involved in the care of your loved one.
|Stage||Signs and Symptoms||Misc.|
|Pre-clinical||Changes in the brain begin years before a person shows any signs of the disease.||Can last for years|
|Mild, early stage||May seem like the mild forgetfulness that often comes with aging but also include problems with concentration. A person may live independently but may have difficulty remembering a name, recalling recent events, recalling where he or she put valuable objects, making plans, staying organized, managing money.||The person themselves may be aware of the memory lapses, and their friends and family may also notice the difficulties.|
|Moderate, middle stage||Increasing trouble remembering events, problems learning new things, trouble with planning complicated events, trouble remembering their own name, but not details about their own life, problems with reading, writing and working with numbers. As the disease progresses, the person may know that some people are familiar but not remember their names, lose track of time and place, need help choosing the right clothing, getting dressed, and ADLs, become moody or withdrawn or have personality changes such as hallucinations paranoia or deulations, be restless, agitate anxious or tearful especially in the later afternoon or at night. Some physical changes may occur, wandering from home is also a concern.||Typically the longest stage, lasting many years|
|Severe, late stage||Loses many physical abilities, including walking, sitting and eating. May lose bladder control. May be able to say some words or phrases. Needs help with activities all of the time. Is unaware of recent experiences and of his or her surroundings. Is more likely to get infections, especially pneumonia.|