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Understand the Stages of Alzheimer's
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Understand the Stages of Alzheimer's

July 22, 2015

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, the first thing to do is ensure that you have a clear understanding of the stages involved in the onset of the condition. Having a good idea about what to expect plays a major role in how prepared you are when your loved one begins to progress further through each stage.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are three basic stages involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s that caregivers should be aware of. The first is mild, followed by moderate and severe. Each stage of Alzheimer’s has specific symptoms that you and your loved one’s doctor should keep an eye on.

elderly woman on walker being helped by caregiverStage 1: Mild
You may begin to notice the first signs of Alzheimer’s in your loved one when he or she starts to have obvious difficulty remembering things that were previously fresh in his or her mind, such as your address. Your loved one may also start to have trouble with his or her short-term memory, asking you to repeat questions multiple times or having trouble with daily tasks like paying bills. However, you may notice that memories from long ago are easy for him or her to recall.

According to HelpGuide.org, one of the most common signs of the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or memory loss is the misplacement of objects or noticing your loved one is leaving them in unusual spots. He or she may begin avoiding interactions with you or friends to prevent embarrassment as well. This is why it’s important that you make an effort to notice these symptoms so you can start providing support for your loved one as soon as the condition begins to develop.

Stage 2: Moderate
If your loved one is confused more frequently and starts having trouble remembering both long- and short-term memories, he or she may have entered into the second stage of Alzheimer’s. Difficulty recognizing familiar faces, such as family and friends, is one of the most obvious signs that he or she is no longer in the early stage of the disease.

According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, your loved one may suddenly avoid new situations or meeting new people. Since he or she is more frequently struggling with confusion, anything that isn’t familiar starts to become frustrating. Wandering and the inability to perform daily tasks like getting dressed in the morning are also results of confusion. If you live too far away or are unable to provide full support for your loved one for any reason, it may be time to talk to your close family about finding an Alzheimer’s care community where he or she will get 24/7 support.

Stage 3: Severe

The NIH explained that as an Alzheimer’s patient enters into the third stage and last stage of Alzheimer’s, he or she may lose the ability to communicate. Increased amount of sleep each day, weight loss and significant loss of appetite are other common symptoms. It’ll also become challenging for your loved one to control motor skills, causing slurred speech. At this point, he or she is completely dependent on others and requires full-time care.

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