One of the difficulties of caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease is the uncertainty of the future. Families find themselves wondering what will happen as the disease worsens. They may even feel completely unprepared for the job of keeping the older adult physically healthy, safe, and happy. One way to be me more prepared for the future is to know how Alzheimer’s progresses. Knowing the stages of the disease can help you to recognize when your aging relative is moving into the next stage and give you some time to make changes in their care plan.
About the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
The number of stages described in Alzheimer’s disease depends on the source you view. Some experts talk about four stages, some use three, and others break it down into seven stages. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use the Alzheimer’s Association’s model of three stages.
People with Alzheimer’s disease typically live between four and eight years after diagnosis. However, some people have lived as long as 20 years. Regardless of how long they live, the disease is progressive, so as time goes on the symptoms will get worse. The three stages of Alzheimer’s disease described by the Alzheimer’s Association are Early, Middle, and Late. They are also referred to as Mild, Moderate, and Severe.
Older adults who are still in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease can still live safely on their own. They can even continue driving, so they can run their own errands, purchase groceries, and socialize with friends. Still, they will probably be aware that they have memory lapses. Friends and family members will probably see the memory problems and other changes, too. You might notice some of these symptoms:
- Trouble thinking of a word or name.
- Difficulties doing certain familiar tasks.
- Losing items.
- Trouble planning or organizing tasks and events.
The middle stage is usually the longest one. At this point, the senior will certainly need help with daily tasks, so care will have to be stepped up. Some symptoms that may appear are:
- Difficulty remember events that happened in their own life.
- Changes in mood and behavior.
- An inability to remember their address or phone number.
- Being confused about time or place.
In the late stage, the senior will be unable to react to the environment and lose the ability to communicate with people around them. They may also lose motor control. Symptoms of this stage include:
- Loss of awareness of their surroundings.
- A change in physical abilities, like being unable to walk, sit, or even swallow.
- Getting ill more easily, such as with pneumonia.
Home care can help older adults in any stage of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it’s a good idea to enlist the assistance of home care as early on as possible so that the provider and the senior get a chance to know one another before the disease progresses. This way, the home care provider has a chance to find out the older adult’s likes and dislikes as well as their wishes for their care in later stages. Home care providers can also help family caregivers to recognize when symptoms are getting worse and it is time for changes in their care.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Sugar Land, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.