Alzheimer’s disease is a slow progressing disease that affects the brain, leading to its shrinkage and causing proteins to deposit both inside and outside the neurons. You can read more about Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms in our article here.
Do not confuse Alzheimer’s for memory loss that sets in with aging. Alzheimer’s is a disease and not a normal phenomenon. The patients will need special attention and medical care to help them lead the best lives possible.
Stage 1: Pre-symptomatic stage
The outward behavior of the individual is normal. This stage lasts years before there are any noticeable symptoms. Only PET scans can detect Alzheimer’s disease at this stage.
Stage 2: Basic forgetfulness
This stage is when the person him/herself is aware of a problem, but it is not noticeable to others, including the doctor. The individual may notice the subtle differences themselves. At this stage, the patients are still able to work independently.
Stage 3: Memory difficulties that become noticeable
This stage is more noticeable to others around the affected person. They may start to:
Stage 4: Beyond memory loss
The problems with thinking and reasoning start being more obvious. The person starts to forget details about themselves or their loved ones. They have problems with numbers and dates. They may forget the month of the year or have trouble cooking meals or use a phone. The person also may begin to lose comprehension ability and may struggle to do day-to-day tasks.
Stage 5: Decreased independence
At this stage, the person may lose track of their position in time and space, making them likely to forget their way and get lost or wander off without recognizing the passing of time. Steps that help them remember, like laying out clothes or creating lists may help at this stage in helping the individual stay independent.
Stage 6: Severe symptoms
This is a severe stage, where the person may still recognize faces, but forgets names. The person may start experiencing delusions and mood swings. They may also need help for simple tasks like going to the bathroom and this can really frustrate them. They may also have weight loss, skin infections, pneumonia, or trouble walking.
Stage 7: Lack of control
At this stage, the person starts showing difficulty to control and performing basic physical movements and may start being limited to the bed. They may find it difficult to swallow food and are at high risk for aspiration pneumonia. It may even be necessary to ensure they have enough food and drink enough water as they themselves, may not be even able to recognize or call for help with thirst.
If you notice someone with Alzheimer’s at an initial stage, you can help them define way to lead a better life.