Most people are aware there are different stages of Alzheimer’s along the journey. This article will help you understand the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how you can cope.
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be very difficult to cope with. And this is especially true if you’re dealing with a family member who has been showing signs of cognitive decline.
Medical professionals have identified the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s. But the symptoms do not fall neatly into boxes, which is why they should be used as a guide since individual symptoms may vary.
Educating yourself on the condition is paramount. Because it helps you devise a course of action to make your loved one’s life as easy as possible. And this will give them the best fighting chance to cope with the struggles they will likely face.
As of yet, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, so you can only delay the cognitive decline and develop habits and systems to cope with the various stages, especially as they progress.
There is no clear-cut analysis on how long each stage lasts, which depends on the individual and certain life factors like health, nutrition, and the number of meaningful relationships in their lives.
Let’s explore some details on the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s.
Stage 1 – Slight Changes in Behavior
Alzheimer’s is a silent disease. And in the early stages, it cannot be diagnosed by doctors unless you opt for a medical scan like a PET scan. These scans can identify changes in the brain to indicate the disease’s progression.
However, if you’ve detected that you or your loved one is in stage 1, you might notice certain issues. Memory, such as losing everyday objects and forgetting certain words may be impaired.
But someone can still live a full life without letting the symptoms from this stage overwhelm them.
Something to keep in mind is that these symptoms may likely be caused by aging, so you avoid self-diagnosing yourself or someone else just because they are exhibiting mild problems with their memory or speech.
Stage 2 – Minor Changes in Behavior
The symptoms experienced in this stage are not much different from stage 1. And it’s difficult to identify which stage you’re at following your diagnosis.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may notice behavioral changes that the doctor doesn’t. And this is because you live with them and know what they’re like
However, even at this stage, a person can continue living normally without any significant problems.
Stage 3 – Slight Decline
You may notice some differences in your family member’s ability to communicate with others or convey their thoughts and feelings. Someone may have trouble reading, asking the same question repeatedly, have difficulty planning and organizing, and forget names when meeting people.
You can help your loved ones by helping them follow through on their commitments and offering support. And this can reduce their stress levels and help them cope.
Stage 4 – Significant Decline
At this stage, your symptoms start becoming more noticeable to friends and family, who may notice that you forget important details about yourself, have difficulty adding the date to your cheques, and can’t remember the month or season.
Additionally, other symptoms may include losing the ability to cook food or remember recipes, difficulty in using the phone, failure to understand simple information, and struggling with everyday tasks like cleaning the house.
This stage is when things start getting a bit scary and difficult. Therefore, you should do your best to help your loved ones with their daily tasks.
Stage 5 – Moderately Significant Decline
At stage 5, your loved one may begin to forget crucial details about their identity or everyday life and exhibit daily confusion.
Ease the confusion by helping your loved one throughout the day. Constantly reassure someone who is confused.
Someone with this disease may keep asking the same questions. Do your best to answer with empathy and reassurance. This can help alleviate anxiety. You might want to encourage them to utilize their imagination more effectively through storytelling, which is helpful.
Stage 6 – Very Significant Decline
At stage 6 of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may forget names and begin confusing their family members for strangers.
It is common for someone with Alzheimer’s to experience delusions. Someone could think they have a job when they’re retired.
At this stage of Alzheimer’s holding conversations can become very difficult for your family member. But you can help them connect the dots through support and love.
Often a patient with Alzheimer’s will enjoy listening to music or looking at old pictures. Help them find the music they like.
However, things can become serious when someone struggles to feed themselves and get dressed. Therefore you must adopt more responsibility and help them deal with their everyday problems.
Stage 7 – Major Cognitive Decline
The final stage of Alzheimer’s is pretty brutal. And those who have progressed to stage 7 experience difficulties in the simplest tasks, such as sitting, standing, walking, and eating.
Your loved one may not remember to eat or drink. And this is why you might want to invest in a caretaker. Find one who is experienced in taking care of patients suffering from this disease.
If you cannot provide sufficient care at home, you may want to admit your loved one to a facility. Find one that specializes in care for people suffering from serious mental health conditions.
This way, you ensure they receive professional care 24/7, which is a requirement for Alzheimer’s patients at stage 7.
Hospice care is a good option if your loved one is nearing the end of their life. This care provides pain management and emotional and spiritual care.
Looking after your family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be very challenging. And this will test you in many ways. Therefore you should do your best to educate yourself on the matter. And adopt greater responsibility to ease their suffering.
However, if it becomes too difficult to care for a family member yourself, you can admit them to a residential care home. You can also bring in hospice care. This may be necessary to help them live a comfortable life.
Most people can’t look after their family members throughout the day and take care of all their needs. And this makes it important to find the right professionals for assisted living options.
We Are Here To Help
At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation
Furthermore, the staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that!
If you are looking for Memory Care in The Woodlands or Memory Care in Spring, Texas come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help