Understanding the different stages of Alzheimer’s

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Elder Law |

Watching your parents slide into their golden years can be a cherished journey filled with precious memories and happy moments. It can also be challenging if and when the signs of age-related cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s start to appear.

While the initial shock of realizing that your loved one is experiencing cognitive decline can be overwhelming, understanding Alzheimer’s stages can help you provide better care as their needs change.

Early-stage Alzheimer’s

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, you may notice subtle changes in your loved one’s cognitive function. They might struggle with forgetfulness, have difficulty concentrating or organizing tasks and may experience challenges with language such as finding the right words or following conversations. Despite these changes, they can often still manage their daily activities independently, although they may need occasional help with more complex tasks.

Middle-stage Alzheimer’s

This is a more advanced stage where you might observe more pronounced cognitive decline and functional impairments in your loved one. They may have difficulty remembering recent events or people’s names, struggle with basic tasks like dressing or grooming and exhibit changes in behavior or personality. Communication becomes increasingly challenging as they may have trouble expressing themselves or understanding others. Wandering and agitation could also become more common.

Late-stage Alzheimer’s

At this stage, your loved one may lose the ability to communicate coherently, recognize familiar faces or even perform basic tasks such as eating or walking without assistance. They may become completely dependent on others for their care, requiring round-the-clock supervision and support with all activities of daily living. Behavioral symptoms such as agitation, aggression and wandering may escalate, posing challenges for both caregivers and their loved ones. Additionally, individuals in late-stage Alzheimer’s are at increased risk of complications such as infections or swallowing difficulties which can further compromise their health.

If you start noticing signs of cognitive decline in your loved ones, it might be time to consider planning for assisted living and/or seeking professional guidance to better ensure their safety and well-being as their condition progresses.