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What Is Life Like For A Person With Alzheimer’s Disease

Stage : Moderate Dementia

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When a person has moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease, they become increasingly confused and forgetful. They may need help with daily tasks and with looking after themselves. This is the longest stage and often lasts around 24 years.

Symptoms of moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:

  • losing track of the location and forgetting the way, even in familiar places
  • wandering in search of surroundings that feel more familiar
  • failing to recall the day of the week or the season
  • confusing family members and close friends or mistaking strangers for family
  • forgetting personal information, such as their address
  • repeating favorite memories or making up stories to fill memory gaps
  • needing help deciding what to wear for the weather or season
  • needing assistance with bathing and grooming
  • occasionally losing control of the bladder or bowel
  • becoming unduly suspicious of friends and family
  • seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • becoming restless or agitated
  • having physical outbursts, which may be aggressive

As Alzheimers progresses, a person may start to feel more restless toward evening and have difficulty sleeping. This is sometimes called sundowners syndrome.

During this stage, physical and mental functioning continue to decline.

If a person has severe dementia during the later stages of Alzheimers disease, they might:

Other common causes of death among people with Alzheimers disease include dehydration, malnutrition, and other infections.

Signs Of Dying In The Elderly With Dementia

Dementia is a general term for a chronic or persistent decline in mental processes including memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. It is also the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease.

Alzheimers disease and most progressive dementias do not have a cure. While the disease inevitably worsens over time, that timeline can vary greatly from one patient to the next.

Caring for a loved one can be challenging and stressful, as the individuals personality changes and cognitive function declines. They may even stop recognizing their nearest and dearest friends and relatives. As dementia progresses, the individual will require more and more care. As a family caregiver, its important to be able to recognize the signs of dying in elderly with dementia. Hospice can help by offering care wherever the individual resides, providing physical, emotional and spiritual care to the patient and support their family.

Are You Having Symptoms Of It

This tool is a Huntington disease symptoms checker. It gathers the most important signs, symptoms, and risk factors for this condition. Therefore, it will aid anybody who uses it to determine the likelihood of having Huntington disease or developing it in the future. Besides, this tool is free and would only take you a few minutes to use it.

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Icipating In Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials

Everybody those with Alzheimers disease or MCI as well as healthy volunteers with or without a family history of Alzheimers may be able to take part in clinical trials and studies. Participants in Alzheimers clinical research help scientists learn how the brain changes in healthy aging and in Alzheimers. Currently, at least 270,000 volunteers are needed to participate in more than 250 active clinical trials and studies that are testing ways to understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent Alzheimers disease.

Volunteering for a clinical trial is one way to help in the fight against Alzheimers. Studies need participants of different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that results are meaningful for many people.

NIA leads the federal governments research efforts on Alzheimers. NIA-supported Alzheimers Disease Research Centers throughout the U.S. conduct a wide range of research, including studies of the causes, diagnosis, and management of the disease. NIA also sponsors the Alzheimers Clinical Trials Consortium, which is designed to accelerate and expand studies and therapies in Alzheimers and related dementias.

To learn more about Alzheimers clinical trials and studies:

  • Talk to your health care provider about local studies that may be right for you.

Watch videos of participants in Alzheimers disease clinical trials talking about their experiences.

How Hospice Can Help With End

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In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patient’s physician.

To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.

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Stage : Moderate Decline

During this period, the problems in thinking and reasoning that you noticed in stage 3 get more obvious, and new issues appear. Your friend or family member might:

  • Forget details about themselves
  • Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check
  • Forget what month or season it is
  • Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu
  • Struggle to use the telephone
  • Not understand what is said to them
  • Struggle to do tasks with multiple steps like cleaning the house.

You can help with everyday chores and their safety. Make sure they aren’t driving anymore, and that no one tries to take advantage of them financially.

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Maureen: The Admiral Nurse

Admiral Nurses are specialist mental health nurses who focus on dementia. They work with family carers and people with dementia and are supplied by the charity Dementia UK.

‘People dont always realise that we are here to support the carer rather than nurse the person with dementia,’ says Admiral Nurse Maureen Kanabar.

But if we work with the carers, we are able to pass on our expertise to many more people. They are the ones who are making what are sometimes very difficult decisions about their loved ones while being under great stress themselves.

I specialised in dementia about 10 years ago and worked as a memory nurse specialist in the East Herts Memory Service. Then I did an MSc in ageing and mental health before seeing this job advertised and I knew it was perfect for me.

Knowing where to turn

Carers often do not know who to turn to for the right information as well as suffering the most enormous guilt when they feel angry or lonely or cant cope. I was recently an advocate for a carer who was being pushed by social services to keep a relative at home. But they werent looking at the whole picture. If the carer couldnt cope it wouldnt be in anyones interest.

‘Some of the most distressing times for carers come when the person they are looking after becomes uncooperative, or no longer recognises them or, worse, in the case of a son or daughter, is convinced it’s their husband or wife.

Factors That Determine Longevity

Day in the Life of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver: Heartbreaking

One study of 438 patients in the U.K. found that the main factors that determine how long a person lives after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are age, gender, and level of disability. Here are the main research findings:

  • Women lived an average of 4.6 years after diagnosis, and men lived 4.1 years.
  • People diagnosed when under age 70 lived 10.7 years compared to 3.8 years for people over 90 when diagnosed.
  • Patients who were frail at the time of diagnosis did not live as long, even after adjusting for age.
  • Overall, the average survival time for someone in the study diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia was 4.5 years.

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How Do You Know If Someone Has Huntingtons Disease

Huntingtons diagnosis is mainly made by evaluating the symptoms and the history of the parent with the disease. That is why the parent must confirm the disease with a genetic test. If not, the symptoms alone arent sufficient. The certainty must be one hundred percent.

When the motor symptoms with or without psychiatric symptoms dont have a proven family history, a genetic test is necessary. It counts the number of CAG repeats in the HTT gene, and if it has more than normal, its positive. This test must have consent from the patient since it would mean further studies to relatives at risk of Huntingtons. Genetic studies can also be done to people who are at risk of the disease but are asymptomatic or without symptoms.

Other types of tests, such as blood tests, MRIs, CT scanning, are useless to diagnose the disease at any stage. Recently there have been studies with MRIs to these patients brains even years before the symptoms begin. They have shown changes in different brain areas, although they still dont function as a diagnosing tool.

When the genetic tests are negative, and symptoms are similar to Huntingtons, several other diseases need studying, such as:

Dementia Symptoms: What Memory Loss Means

Some people think of memory loss superficially, as merely forgetting words or names. But itâs much more profound than that. Everything we do is premised on memory. When you walk into the kitchen to make dinner, your actions are almost unconscious. You grab food from the fridge, turn on the oven, take out plates and silverware â your memories are a foundation, and they give you a context for what youâre supposed to do in a given situation.

For a person with dementia, that context is ripped away. A woman with Alzheimerâs disease may walk into a kitchen and have no idea why they were there or what were supposed to be doing. They might still be able to make dinner â especially in the early stages of the disease â but itâs a struggle. Each step has to be reasoned out and thought through. Thatâs why people with dementia tend to act more slowly than they once did.

In the advanced stages of the disease, the actions of a person with dementia may seem irrational. But Beth Kallmyer, MSW, director of client services for the national office of the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, says that they often make a kind of warped logic.

âOur brains are built to reason,â says Kallmyer, âand even when the brain has been affected by a disease like Alzheimerâs, itâs still struggling to reason.â The problem is that as memories are lost, the brain just doesnât have enough information to interpret situations correctly.

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What Will The Doctor Do

It can be hard for a doctor to diagnose Alzheimer disease because many of its symptoms can be like those of other conditions affecting the brain. The doctor will talk to the patient, find out about any medical problems the person has, and will examine him or her.

The doctor can ask the person questions or have the person take a written test to see how well his or her memory is working. Doctors also can use medical tests to take a detailed picture of the brain. They can study these images and look for signs of Alzheimer disease.

When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, the doctor may prescribe medicine to help with memory and thinking. The doctor also might give the person medicine for other problems, such as depression . Unfortunately, the medicines that the doctors have can’t cure Alzheimer disease they just help slow it down.

A Day In The Life Of Someone With Dementia

Daily Life of an Alzheimer Patient

What is daily life like for an individual with Alzheimers disease, dementia or other memory impairments? If youre a caretaker or simply know someone living with these diseases, you probably already have a clear picture of what it looks like. But do you know what it feels like? What life is actually like for that particular individual?

Dementias such as Alzheimers disease are complex and very personal, says Jennifer Trout, Executive Director of Bridges® by EPOCH at Hingham, a memory care assisted living community in Hingham, MA. Theres no typical day because the disease can change at any time. However, by gaining understanding of your loved ones difficulties, you can make the journey easier for everyone involved.

To begin understanding what your loved one is going through, you need to first determine what stage of dementia they are in, whether early, mid or late stages. Each stage comes with its own unique challenges and ways of addressing it successfully.

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Find Out More About The Diseases That Cause Dementia

Our about dementia information pages are a good place to start to find out more. You can get an overview of the different diseases that cause dementia, more information about the symptoms associated with these diseases and treatments that are currently available.

If you have further questions about dementia or want to know more about dementia research and how you and your loved ones can get involved, our Dementia Research Infoline can help. Call us on 0300 111 5 111 or email us at

How Much Time Can Treatment Add

Treatment will not prevent the progression of AD. It is also unclear if treatment can add time to a persons life. Ultimately, AD will progress and take its toll on the brain and body. As it progresses, symptoms and side effects will get worse.

However, a few medications may be able to slow the progression of AD at least for a short time. Treatment can also improve your quality of life and help treat symptoms. Talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

study identified several factors that affect a persons life expectancy. These include:

  • Gender: A 2004 study found that men lived an average of 4.2 years after their initial diagnosis. Women were found to live an average of 5.7 years after their diagnosis.
  • Severity of symptoms: People with significant motor impairment, such as a history of falls and a tendency to wander or walk away, had shorter life expectancies.
  • Brain abnormalities: The study also detected a connection between brain and spinal cord abnormalities and the length of life.
  • Other health problems: People with heart disease, a history of heart attack, or diabetes had shorter lifespans than patients without these complicating health factors.

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Memory Loss: Everything Became Fuzzier

Dementia symptoms result from damage to the brain caused by disease or injury. As brain cells die, it becomes difficult or impossible to store new memories or access old ones. Sometimes dementia comes on suddenly, after a stroke or head injury. Often it comes on more slowly as the result of conditions like Alzheimerâs disease or Parkinsonâs disease. Most causes of dementia cannot be reversed.

Mary Ann Becklenberg is in the early stages of Alzheimerâs disease, but her dementia symptoms have already had an enormous impact on her life. In 2006, she had to leave her position as a clinical social worker because she could no longer meet the responsibilities. âThe world became much less defined than it had been,â says Becklenberg. âEverything became fuzzier.â

The diagnosis didnât come until later. John Becklenberg says that he first knew that his wife had Alzheimerâs disease after she returned from a monthlong trip to California. âI was there with her for a week of her stay,â he says. âBut when she got back, she didnât remember that Iâd been there at all.â

âThat was so hard,â says Mary Ann Becklenberg, who now serves as an Alzheimerâs Association early stage adviser. âJohn listed all these things we did and places we went, and I didnât remember any of them. That was when we knew.â

What Is Alzheimers Disease

Through The Eyes of Someone with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimers disease is the most common form of a group of brain diseases called dementias. Alzheimers disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia.

Alzheimers disease, like all dementias, gets worse over time and there is no known cure. Nearly 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers disease destroys brain cells causing problems with memory, thinking, and behavior that can be severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies, and social life. Eventually, it can affect ones ability to carry out routine daily activities. Today, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged 65 years and older.

For more information, see www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figuresexternal icon.

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