How Alzheimer’s Disease Is Treated
There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medicines are available that can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Various other types of support are also available to help people with Alzheimer’s live as independently as possible, such as making changes to your home environment so it’s easier to move around and remember daily tasks.
Psychological treatments such as cognitive stimulation therapy may also be offered to help support your memory, problem solving skills and language ability.
Read more about treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Stage : Others Begin To Notice Change
In stage three, mild decline will begin with changes in how we respond to high-demand situations. These changes will be observable by a loved one or co-worker. For example, we may forget recurring essential meetings or appointments. We may notice it harder to perform complex tasks at work the way we used to. If we travel somewhere new, we may get lost easier. We may have a more challenging time navigating to a new spot. Like stage two, there can be many reasons for these changes other than dementia, such as stress or other health factors.
Stage Seven: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage seven typically lasts for 1.5 to 2.5 years and is characterized by very severe cognitive decline. Patients in stage seven lose their ability to communicate, and are often unable to walk. Individuals in late stage dementia require extensive assistance with lifes activities, and often need round the clock support.
Dementia affects approximately 5 million Americans each year. Lewy Body Dementia comprises approximately 1.4 million cases within this figure, and is often misdiagnosed. If youd like to learn more about Lewy Body Dementia or seek support, please visit us online at lewybodyresourcecenter.org or reach out to our helpline at 833-LBDLINE.
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Support For Families And Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers
Caring for a person with Alzheimers can have significant physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. NIA supports efforts to evaluate programs, strategies, approaches, and other research to improve the quality of care and life for those living with dementia and their caregivers.
Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimers and about ways to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges can help.
Good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care are other things that may help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.
Some caregivers have found that joining a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups enable caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups, including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimers and their families.
The Seven Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that leads to personality changes, memory loss, intellectual slowing, and other symptoms. Although each person with Alzheimer’s is different, most progress through a series of stages, each of which is characterized by more serious Alzheimer’s symptoms.
The following seven stages were developed by researchers and physicians to describe how a person with dementia could change over time. Your doctor might collapse the seven stages into early/middle/late or mild/moderate/severe, so these classifications are provided as well. . It is important to note here that dementia affects every person in different ways so not everyone will experience the same symptoms or problems or necessarily follow the same pattern of decline. These ‘stages’ are used for guidance purposes only. Although the stages provide a blueprint for the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms, not everyone advances through the stages similarly. Caregivers report that their loved ones sometimes seem to be in two or more stages at once, and the rate at which people advance through the stages is highly individual. Still, the stages help us understand Alzheimer’s symptoms and prepare for their accompanying challenges.
Stage 1 There are no problems with memory, orientation, judgment, communication, or daily activities. You or your loved one is a normally functioning adult.
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Managing Alzheimer’s Disease Behavior
Common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimers include sleeplessness, wandering, agitation, anxiety, and aggression. Scientists are learning why these symptoms occur and are studying new treatments drug and nondrug to manage them. Research has shown that treating behavioral symptoms can make people with Alzheimers more comfortable and makes things easier for caregivers.
Stage : Normal Outward Behavior
Alzheimerâs disease usually starts silently, with brain changes that begin years before anyone notices a problem. When your loved one is in this early phase, they won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether they have Alzheimer’s.
As they move into the next six stages, your friend or relative with Alzheimer’s will see more and more changes in their thinking and reasoning.
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Stage : Very Severe Cognitive Decline
Experts have documented common patterns of symptom progression that occur in many individuals with Alzheimers disease and developed several methods of staging based on these patterns. Progression of symptoms corresponds in a general way to the underlying nerve cell degeneration that takes place in Alzheimers disease. Nerve cell damage typically begins with cells involved in learning and memory and gradually spreads to cells that control every aspect of thinking, judgment, and behavior. The damage eventually affects cells that control and coordinate movement.
Signs Of Mild Alzheimers Disease
In mild Alzheimers disease, a person may seem to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world around him or her. The realization that something is wrong often comes gradually to the person and his or her family. Problems can include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Repeating questions
- Increased sleeping
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
A common cause of death for people with Alzheimers disease is aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia develops when a person cannot swallow properly and takes food or liquids into the lungs instead of air.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimers, though there are medicines that can treat the symptoms of the disease.
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Alzheimer’s Mild Cognitive Impairment And Alzheimers Dementia
Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia affecting people older than 65, is a progressive disease characterized by worsening symptoms affecting cognitive ability. These symptoms, which tend to include memory loss, inability to problem-solve and lack of judgement, all interfere with a person’s ability to function.
Although no two cases of Alzheimer’s follow the same path, the progression of the disease is generally understood to fall into three primary stages based on various signs and symptoms.
How Long Will A Person With Dementia Live For
Whatever type of dementia a person has, their life expectancy is on average lower. This is why dementia is called a life-limiting condition. This can be very upsetting to think about.
However, its important to remember that, no matter how a persons dementia changes over time, there are ways to live well with the condition.
Good support can make a huge difference to the persons quality of life at all stages of dementia.
How long a person lives with dementia varies greatly from person to person. It depends on many factors, such as the ones listed on The progression and stages of dementia page.
Other factors include:
- how far dementia had progressed when the person was diagnosed
- what other serious health conditions the person with dementia has such as diabetes, cancer, or heart problems
- how old the person was when their symptoms started older people are more likely than younger people to have other health conditions that may lower their life expectancy. A person in their 90s who is diagnosed with dementia is more likely to die from other health problems before they reach the later stages than is a person diagnosed in their 70s.
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Stage : Severe Cognitive Decline
Memory difficulties continue to worsen, significant personality changes may emerge and affected individuals need extensive help with customary daily activities. At this stage, individuals may:
- Lose most awareness of recent experiences and events as well as of their surroundings
- Recollect their personal history imperfectly, although they generally recall their own name
- Occasionally forget the name of their spouse or primary caregiver but generally can distinguish familiar from unfamiliar faces
- Need help getting dressed properly without supervision, may make such errors as pajamas over clothes or shoes on wrong feet
- Experience disruption of their normal sleep/waking cycle
- Need help with handling details of toileting
- Have increasing episodes of urinary or fecal incontinence
- Experience significant personality changes and behavioral symptoms, including: suspiciousness and delusions hallucinations or compulsive, repetitive behaviors such as hand-wringing or tissue shredding
- Tend to wander and become lost
A Person With Dementia Doesnt Always Fit Into One Stage
Dementia affects each person in a unique way and changes different parts of the brain at different points in the disease progression.
Plus, different types of dementia tend to have different symptoms.
For example, someone with frontotemporal dementia may first show extreme behavior and personality changes. But someone with Alzheimers disease would first experience short-term memory loss and struggle with everyday tasks.
Researchers and doctors still dont know enough about how these diseases work to predict exactly what will happen.
Another common occurrence is for someone in the middle stages of dementia to suddenly have a clear moment, hour, or day and seem like theyre back to their pre-dementia abilities. They could be sharp for a little while and later, go back to having obvious cognitive impairment.
When this happens, some families may feel like their older adult is faking their symptoms or just isnt trying hard enough.
Its important to know that this isnt true, its truly the dementia thats causing their declining abilities as well as those strange moments of clarity theyre truly not doing it on purpose.
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Dementia Stages: How Fast Dementia Progresses Stages Of Dementia And More
Dementia is a progressive impairment of cognitive function caused by damage to the brain. Over time, a person with dementia will have increased difficulty with memory, understanding, communication, and reasoning.
Healthcare providers frequently speak about a persons dementia in terms of stages. This can be helpful for communicating with family or other healthcare providers regarding the persons illness, and it is important for determining an appropriate care plan.
How Fast Does Dementia Progress?
It is important to note that dementia progresses at different speeds for every person, and for different types of dementia. The most well-known form of dementia, Alzheimers disease, is just one specific type of dementia, and tends to have the slowest progression of all types. Some factors that affect the rate of progression include:
- Repeated infections
What are the Stages of Dementia?
There are a few different systems used to grade dementia — at the most basic there is early, moderate, and end. Many providers use the system developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University which includes 7 stages. The Reisberg scale is also known as the GDS or Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia. This scale focuses primarily on cognitive abilities.
Dementia Stages in the Reisberg Scale
Dementia Stages in the FAST Scale
Dementia Stages in the CDR Scale
Moderate Dementia Or Moderately Severe Decline
Stage 5 lasts about 1 1/2 years and requires a lot of support. Those who dont have enough support often experience feelings of anger and suspiciousness. People in this stage will remember their own names and close family members, but major events, weather conditions, or their current address can be difficult to recall. Theyll also show some confusion regarding time or place and have difficulty counting backward.
Caregiver support: Theyll need assistance with daily tasks and can no longer live independently. Personal hygiene and eating wont be an issue yet, but they may have trouble picking the right clothing for the weather or taking care of finances.
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Moderate Alzheimers Dementia Stage
The hallmark sign of moderate Alzheimers dementia is when supervision becomes increasingly more necessary. As with mild Alzheimers, these symptoms must interfere with ADLs. They include memory loss and confusion that worsens over time, not being able to learn anything new, worsening language problems , and trouble with calculating numbers and logical thinking.
A person in the moderate Alzheimer’s dementia stage will also have a worsening ability to focus and declining attention span, have trouble organizing thoughts, and have an inability to cope with stressors or new situations.
In addition, the following symptoms are notable in the moderate Alzheimer’s dementia stage:
- Trouble with tasks that require several steps
- Trouble recognizing people
- Symptoms of paranoia delusions and hallucinations
- Angry outbursts
- Wandering/getting lost in familiar places
- Impulsive behavior such as undressing at inappropriate times or places or using vulgar language
- Inappropriate outbursts of anger
- Inability to walk
During the severe Alzheimers dementia stage, a person is completely dependent on others for care and requires 24/7 supervision.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the most recent guidelines for staging of Alzheimers disease is that the condition is now differentiated as a spectrum of disease beginning early on in life before symptoms even occur. This means that prevention measures to help stave off symptoms can be started as a part of early treatment.
What Are The Stages Of Alzheimers
Alzheimers is a neurodegenerative disease. And as such, it is based on a progressive deterioration of brain neurons. And this slow but continuous damage translates into affectations in the cognitive state that makes it possible to differentiate different stages depending on what the symptoms and clinical manifestations are. And then we are going to analyze precisely this. Lets see what are the phases or stages of Alzheimers.
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Mild Alzheimers Or Moderate Decline
Stage 4 lasts about two years and marks the beginning of diagnosable Alzheimers disease. You or your loved one will have more trouble with complex but everyday tasks. Mood changes such as withdrawal and denial are more evident. Decreased emotional response is also frequent, especially in a challenging situation.
New signs of decline that appear in stage 4 may include:
- losing memory of personal history
- trouble with handling finances and bills
- inability to count backward from 100 by 7s
A clinician will also look for a decline in areas mentioned in stage 3, but theres often no change since then.
Caregiver support: Itll still be possible for someone to recall weather conditions, important events, and addresses. But they may ask for help with other tasks such as writing checks, ordering food, and buying groceries.
The 5 Stages Of Alzheimers
There are many different diseases directly linked to the aging of the body. But, without a doubt, the most relevant group at a clinical level is that of dementia, a serious and progressive loss of mental faculties that, according to official data, affects about 50 million people around the world, especially over 65 years old.
And of all these cases, it is estimated that between 50% and 70% correspond to Alzheimers, a neurodegenerative disease that makes up one of natures cruelest disorders. A pathology that has no cure and that causes a serious deterioration of memory and cognitive abilities, ultimately, when the brain, due to the damage to neurons, is no longer able to maintain stable vital functions, cause the death of the person.
It is sad to think how, despite being the most common form of dementia in the world, it is still one of the great unknown to Medicine. Therefore, all we can do now is know the manifestation of this disease so that, in case life puts us in the situation of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers, we know how the situation will evolve.
For this reason and with this intention, in todays article and in the hands of the most prestigious scientific publications, we will, in addition to exactly define the clinical bases of Alzheimers disease, describe the characteristics of each of the stages or phases of this pathology, since in Alzheimers, cognitive deterioration occurs in the form of successive stages. Lets see its nature.
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End Stage Of Dementia
The end stage of dementia is the most difficult stage for those suffering from the disease, and also for family members, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Victims lose what is left of their intellectual and physical capabilities and become completely dependent on others. The model is still shifting in considering end stage dementia an end of life condition experts are pushing this model in order to advocate for better pain and distress management for those suffering at their end.
Stage : Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Individuals may feel as if they have memory lapses, especially in forgetting familiar words or names or the location of keys, eyeglasses or other everyday objects. But these problems are not evident during a medical examination or apparent to friends, family, or co-workers.
- Word- or name-finding problems noticeable to family or close associates
- Performance issues in social or work settings noticeable to family, friends or co-workers
- Reading a passage and retaining little material
- Losing or misplacing a valuable object
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