Alzheimer’s disease tends to develop slowly and gradually worsens over several years. Alzheimer’s affects most functions of the brain which includes: memory, thinking, judgement, language, personality, and movement.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can develop differently in each person, but there are some commonalities in the symptoms and stages of the disease. Learning about the stages of Alzheimer’s can help us recognize which stage the person is in, so we can adjust the level of care to meet his or her needs.
Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t hit all at once. The symptoms are a gradual progress. The rate at which the disease moves from one stage to another depends upon the individual.
• Mild – early stage: Symptoms at this stage include mild forgetfulness such as remembering a name, recalling a recent event or staying organized.
• Moderate – middle stage: During this stage of Alzheimer’s people grow more confused and forgetful and begin to need more help with daily activities and self-care. The person may wander, experience greater memory loss, significant changes in personality and behavior, and grow frustrated or angry.
• Severe – late stage: At this stage of Alzheimer’s, people require continuous assistance with basic activities of daily life. The person loses the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation, to eat or drink, and to eventually control movement.
It is important to remember that a person with Alzheimer’s is still the same person, even if behavior changes. Frustration is common as the person struggles to remember or do the things he or she used to do. The more informed family members are about Alzheimer’s and how it affects their loved one, the better they will be able to provide help and support.