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All You Need to Know About the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

Though the risk of Alzheimer’s can be reduced by consuming omega-3 fatty acids, exercising regularly, and stimulating the brain, it is not always possible to prevent this disease. Cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s normally progresses from mild memory loss to complete lack of cognition.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Fairfield Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

To help people understand Alzheimer’s better, Dr. Barry Reisberg at New York University has divided the progression of the disease into 7 stages. 

1. No Impairment

At this stage, no symptoms are occurring and the disease is not detectable. However, Alzheimer’s has already begun to alter the cells of the brain that will eventually cause complications. 

2. Very Mild Cognitive Decline

It is very rare for Alzheimer’s to be detected by this stage. The senior may forget things briefly, but the loss of memory is rare and temporary. During this phase, your loved one may forget simple things such as where the car keys are. Neither you nor your loved one should be concerned at this stage.

3. Mild Cognitive Decline

As the disease progresses, your loved one may have trouble remembering new acquaintances or new directions, planning or organizing complicated things, and keeping track of valuables. At this point, a doctor will be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s due to impaired performance on memory and cognitive tests.

4. Moderate Cognitive Decline

Around stage 4, the senior’s memory loss will become evident. Your loved one may not be able to remember events that occurred just hours ago, and the short-term memory can also cause him or her to forget details about the past. Basic mental activities items such as doing arithmetic or managing the bills may no longer be possible for your loved one.

5. Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

Though seniors in this stage still remember several details about their family members and past events, they may forget details like their phone number or age. They might face difficulty in dressing or feeding themselves, but can still use the restroom independently. Stage 5 is signified by regular episodes of confusion throughout the day.

6. Severe Cognitive Decline

During the 6th stage of Alzheimer’s, seniors will be confused for the majority of their day. They will likely need assistance with daily tasks such as using the toilet. Their personality may become unrecognizable, and certain behavioral problems can occur. At this point, they may not recognize most of their relatives and friends. Seniors with Stage 6 Alzheimer’s may wander off and get lost. Caring for a loved one becomes difficult at this stage, and family caregivers tend to experience burnout more often.

If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Fairfield, CT, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

7. Very Severe Cognitive Decline

In the final stage, seniors with Alzheimer’s lose their ability to communicate lucidly. They may be completely unaware of their surroundings and need help at all hours of the day. At this point, professional Alzheimer’s care is usually required because seniors may not even be able to swallow food on their own.

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Fairfield seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. To learn about our Alzheimer’s care plans, call one of our professional Care Managers at 203-955-1915.