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The Different Stages Of Alzheimer's

There are several stages of Alzheimer's disease. Even though you may not be aware of what stage you are in, your body and behaviors are all tied in together. Family members and peers may notice the small changes but may not know why or when it started. The overall stages can last more than a decade after being diagnosed. Keeping in mind that everyone's different, it's helpful to think about three Alzheimer's stages. Very mild, mild, moderate and severe.

Very Mild Alzheimer's Disease

Is it just forgetfulness, or is it alzheimer's? Persons at the beginning stages are in a state of confusion as to what is causing them to forget or misplace items. Memory lapses can be frustrating, but most of the time they aren’t a cause for concern. Memory changes become a concern when others notice that something is not right.

 

Mild Alzheimer's Disease

A person can still function on their own with a mild case of Alzheimer's. Family members that are present most of the time are the ones that notice these unusual circumstances. Having trouble remembering what you've just read, or details of a conversation. Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one. Increasing trouble with planning or organizing affairs. Forgetting important dates or events. Losing or misplacing a valuable item are all signs that something has changed with your loved one.

Moderate Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease for any family member is challenging, but once your loved one has been diagnosed with moderate alzheimer's the process of understanding and relating to the disease is the next step. Most patients become lost or disoriented. They repeatedly ask the same questions. They can't dress themselves appropriately. Neglect of personal care and safety. They will often let their responsibilities of paying bills and performing routine tasks go undone. Their judgment and abstract thinking is impaired. Their speed of learning slows down and short-term memory takes longer to function.

Severe Alzheimer's Disease

We often want to protect our loved ones with the security of knowing someone is there with them at all times, but during this stage of their Alzheimer's disease it is wise to have someone care for them. At this point they do not recognize family members or familiar places. They will often wonder around with no sense of direction. Disorientation to time and place is inevitable. They are unable to cook and sometimes feed themselves. Falls become a concern due to balance disorders.

Late Stage and End-of-Life Care

In the final stages of life-limiting illness, it can become evident that in spite of the best care, attention, and treatment, your loved one is approaching the end of life. Loss of appetite, decreased need for food and fluids are evident during the end of life care. Labored, irregular, shallow, or noisy breathing are symptoms that should not be ignored.

Emotional comfort and support should be given to your loved one at this crucial time. Reassuring your loved one it is okay to die can help both of you through this process.

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