Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease, meaning it worsens over time. It affects memory, thinking, personality, and movement. The symptoms and severity of Alzheimer’s may be different for each patient. However, there is a similar sequence that most patients tend to follow from the beginning of the disease to its end. Experts have identified seven stages in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing these stages can give caregivers an idea of what to expect through the progression of Alzheimer’s.
First Stage – No Impairment
In the first stage the changes in the brain begin, but there are no noticeable symptoms. People who had Alzheimer in this stage are fully independent and have no memory problems.
Second Stage – Very Mild Cognitive Decline
In the 2nd stage, a patient with Alzheimer’s disease experience very mild memory problems that can look like normal-aged forgetfulness. These symptoms are often not noticed by the family members or friends.
Third Stage – Mild Cognitive Decline
Patients in this stage experience increased forgetfulness, have difficulty with concentration and planning. Family members and friends of the senior may notice cognitive problems. Physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function through memory and performance tests at this stage.
Fourth Stage – Moderate Cognitive Decline
Cognitive impairment symptoms are more obvious at this stage. Alzheimer patients in this stage will have difficulty remembering recent events, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with problem-solving, and difficulty managing finances. They may also withdraw socially and become moody. As doctor can examine the patient, identify cognitive decline, and give an Alzheimer’s diagnoses.
Fifth Stage – Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
In this stage the patients may not be able to live independently, they will need help with many daily activities such as dressing and preparing meals. They will show major gaps in memory, significant confusion, and there is usually disorientation with respect to time.
Sixth Stage – Severe Cognitive Decline
People with the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s need constant supervision. They experience more significant symptoms in this stage, as patients lose much of the ability to recall name of or recognize family and friends. They will have difficulty recognizing their loved ones around them. Personality changes may also be noticeable at this stage.
Seventh Stage – Very Severe Cognitive Decline
In the final stage Alzheimer patients need assistance with all aspects of life. Most people lose their ability to speak or communicate, and they require 24-hour help with all their personal care, as they may no longer be able to walk, or even sit up as their physical systems have deteriorated.