Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause memory loss, confusion, and difficulties with communication and problem-solving. Understanding the symptoms and stages of Alzheimer’s is key to helping those affected by the disease.
The seven Clinical Stages of Alzheimer’s disease, also known as the Global Deterioration Scale, is used by caregivers and medical professionals to determine how severe the disease has progressed. In stages 1 and 2, someone may experience no symptoms at all, or they may have normal, age-related memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease symptoms don’t begin to manifest beyond normal memory loss until stage 3. In this article, we’ll explore the various Alzheimer’s symptoms stages and discuss how to recognize them. Keep reading to learn more.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment
Stage 3 is classified as mild cognitive impairment and is characterized by noticeable changes in a person’s cognition, including memory, language, and thinking skills. During this stage, individuals may experience difficulty with completing complex tasks, such as organizing their finances. During this stage, some people are also likely to experience changes in their personality or behavior, such as becoming more withdrawn or apathetic.
At this stage, the individual may begin to struggle with daily activities that require planning, decision-making, and organization. They may also struggle to remember the order of steps required to complete a task, such as cooking a meal. In addition, they may have difficulty retaining information, such as the names of people they’ve just met.
Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline
Moderate cognitive decline is the fourth stage of Alzheimer’s disease and is characterized by more noticeable cognitive decline, functional changes, and the presence of chronic medical conditions. People with moderate cognitive decline may experience difficulty with language and communication, impaired reasoning and judgment, and problems with coordination and balance. They may also have difficulty with memory, particularly with remembering recent events. During this stage, people may struggle with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, managing finances, and maintaining personal hygiene. They may also have difficulty recognizing family and friends, as well as difficulty with abstract thinking, problem-solving, and understanding spatial relationships. People in this stage may also experience confusion, depression, and anxiety.
Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
During stage 5 of the disease, individuals experience a significant decline in cognitive abilities. Memory loss becomes more pronounced, and individuals may struggle to recall recent events and the names of familiar people or objects. They may also have difficulty following conversations, especially those involving multiple topics or abstract concepts. They may need assistance with daily activities such as paying bills, maintaining personal hygiene, and shopping. It is also common for individuals to have difficulty recognizing family members or close friends.
In addition, language skills are impaired, and individuals may have trouble following directions, expressing themselves, and understanding written or spoken words. They may also experience a decline in judgment and reasoning skills and have trouble planning, organizing, and completing tasks. It is also common for individuals to become easily confused, agitated, or paranoid in this stage.
Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline
In stage 6, patients may suffer from more severe cognitive decline. In this stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the individual’s memory and ability to recognize and communicate with others severely deteriorate. With this level of Alzheimer’s disease, individuals may experience a complete loss of memory and the ability to recognize loved ones and family members. Individuals may also experience difficulty speaking, reading, and writing. They may be unable to recall recent events and may experience difficulty completing everyday tasks. They may also become restless, disoriented, and unable to manage their own personal care.
As the disease progresses, individuals may experience hallucinations, delusions, and agitation. At this stage, individuals may require 24-hour care and monitoring, as they may be unable to function independently. In some cases, individuals may become bedridden and require assistance with all aspects of daily living.
Stage 7: Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 7, or severe cognitive decline, is considered to be the final stage of Alzheimer’s Disease. At this stage, the individual has lost almost all of their cognitive abilities, including their ability to recognize family members, respond to their environment, and even perform basic self-care activities. During this stage, the individual is no longer able to express themselves in any meaningful way and may become completely dependent on others for basic needs. Due to the severe nature of cognitive decline, memory loss is profound, and the individual’s ability to learn and remember new information is almost non-existent. Speech is often limited or non-existent as well, and the person may become increasingly agitated or confused when faced with changes in their environment.
Understanding Alzheimer’s stages is essential for those who have the condition or are caring for those with it, as it can help to identify how the disease progresses. While Alzheimer’s impacts every person differently, understanding the stages of the disease can provide valuable insight into what treatments and care strategies may be beneficial.