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What Are the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Each person with Alzheimer’s will experience symptoms differently and at a different rate. As such, the disease’s progression can be difficult to track. Broadly, the disease progresses through early, middle, and late stages with corresponding symptoms. If you’re looking for Alzheimer’s care in Phoenix, knowing the stages of the disease can be helpful in determining exactly what you need and when.

Early-Stage Alzheimer’s

Early-stage or mild Alzheimer’s might be difficult to notice at first. A person might still be able to handle day-to-day tasks on their own, continuing to commute to work and take part in social engagements. However, they may begin to notice small lapses in their cognition.

It may start with simple things, like forgetting a new person’s name or misplacing an important object, occurring with more frequency than ever before. The person might struggle with tasks they previously had no trouble doing and might find it more difficult to form plans or stay organized. While not readily apparent to the outside observer, close friends and family might notice the early symptoms.

If caught early enough, this is a crucial stage where plans can be made before the disease progresses. The affected person can have an active hand in their Alzheimer’s care and end-of-life plans, as well as focus on what they enjoy in life.

Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s

Middle-stage or moderate Alzheimer’s is what most people imagine when they think of the disease. Damage to the nerve cells in the brain causes a person to start to suffer from a greater degree of dementia symptoms. Recalling specific events or details about their life may become more difficult, or they may have trouble tracking where they are or what the date is. Moods can become more erratic and irritable.

At this stage, Alzheimer’s care is extremely important. By having help readily available, a person might still be able to function and participate in a variety of activities. By simplifying and providing assistance where needed, a person suffering from middle-stage Alzheimer’s can still participate in their life. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, caregivers may opt to utilize an adult day care so they can take a small break while their loved one still receives the Alzheimer’s care they need.

Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

Late-stage or severe Alzheimer’s involves the onset of severe dementia. Communication can become difficult, and a person might no longer be able to respond to or carry on a conversation. Their physical capabilities may begin to decline as well, resulting in a higher risk of infection and difficulty walking, sitting, or swallowing. 

As their memory and cognitive skills decline, they may lose awareness of their surroundings. At this point, they require full-time Alzheimer’s care in order to meet their needs. This is also the stage at which caregivers may begin to consider hospice and other end-of-life plans. Living with Alzheimer’s is difficult, but there is help available. If you’re in need of Alzheimer’s care in Phoenix, BridgeWater Assisted Living can offer you the compassionate assistance you need through memory care. We look forward to helping you and your loved ones.