The 7 Stages of Alzheimers provides an outline of what an Alzheimers caregiver might expect to see, as the disease progresses through the various stages.
-Every individual is different, and so the severity of the age dementia signs of Alzheimers disease can of course vary greatly.
Which symptoms appear, and when, as well as the rate at which they advance through the 7 stages, often vary as well from person to person.
-Stage 1 - No noticeable Alzheimers symptoms
No definite symptoms of any kind, the only good stage of Alzheimers.
-Stage 2 - Slight decline
Similar to age related, normal everyday forgetfulness, could possibly be the earliest Alzheimers symptom.
-Stage 3 - Mild decline
Alzheimers symptoms may or may not be noticeable to family members, but not always diagnosable by a doctor.
-Less likely to remember the names of new people.
-Will remember very little after reading a small article.
-Performance at work and in social gatherings will suffer noticeably to friends and family by this stage of Alzheimers.
-Noticeable decline in remembering names and words for things.
-Misplacing and losing things of importance regularly.
-Losing organizational and planning abilities
-Stage 4 - Early Stages of Alzheimers
-The age dementia symptoms start to become more apparent.
-Difficulty performing mental arithmetic, such as counting backward from 100 by 8's.
-Socially awkward and withdrawn from others.
-Decreased memory of current personal events.
-Diminished capacity to take care of bills and finances, planning meals.
-Noticeably irritable and moody.
-Stage 5 - Mid Stages of Alzheimers
-An Alzheimers caregiver is now required, as daily assistance becomes necessary
-Decreased memory is much more pronounced and gaps more noticeable.
-Inability to remember their own street address, phone number and personal information. (This Alzheimers symptom can be very dangerous)
-Simple arithmetic, such as counting back from 100 by 2's is a challenge.
-Easily confused about time of day, day of week or what year it is.
-Disregard for personal care and hygiene.
-May wear inappropriate clothing for the occasion, or shorts in winter.
-Although the age dementia symptoms of Alzheimers are definitely getting worse, those in Mid Stage Alzheimers usually still know their own name and those of close family.
-Usually at this stage of Alzheimers they can still use the bathroom and have no trouble eating.
-Stage 6 - Moderate Stages of Alzheimers
-Usually the most distressing stages of Alzheimers for the family, as the age dementia symptoms become much more severe.
-Will require help for most things.
-Memory may fade to the point that the person often doesn't remember family names, but usually will remember familiar faces.
-Usually will recall their own name, though little else of personal history will be remembered accurately.
-Difficulty remembering their surroundings and what they are doing.
-Will need assistance using the toilet.
-Bladder and bowel incontinence, at times with a strong fixation to the problem, occurs during this stage of Alzheimers.
-Little comprehension of time with regard to sleep, may not want to go to sleep at normal times (huge cause of caregiver stress), restless in afternoons.
-May have hallucinations and be wrongly suspicious of Alzheimers caregiver.
-Repetitive behavior such as repeating the same question over and over, picking at the body, etc.
-Wandering can become a serious problem, as the person thinks they are going home or to work and will become lost.
-Stage 7 - Late Stages of Alzheimers
-The final stages of Alzheimers leave the patient without the ability to respond to their surroundings.
-Communication is difficult as the individual may speak words or sentences that may not make sense.
-Personality is gone and person may be unable to smile or to swallow.
-All bodily function is lost, the person is totally dependent on Alzheimers caregiver.
-The Person during this stage of Alzheimers, loses their ability to walk without assistance, perhaps even to sit and hold their head upright.
All that can be done at this point, is to love and care for them.
-The 7 Stages of Alzheimers can be difficult and a seemingly never-ending source of caregiver stress for the family members taking care of them.
-One of the biggest problems facing the Alzheimers caregiver is recognizing the symptoms of caregiver stress, it has a way of creeping up and overtaking those involved and can be quite overwhelming.
The following is a list from the Alzheimers Association of 10 symptoms of Alzheimers caregiver stress.
-Being aware can help you to avoid them, and the pitfalls of weight gain from overeating, as well as tobacco and alcohol abuse that could also result.
1. Denial -Family members or Alzheimers caregiver believes the person diagnosed will get better. "I know Mom's going to get better."
2. Anger -Alzheimers caregivers get mad at the person with the disease or others, that no treatments or cures currently exist, and that people don't understand what's going on. "If she asks me that question one more time, I'll scream"
3. Social Withdrawal -In coping with Alzheimers, caregiver can withdraw socially from friends and associates. "I don't feel like getting together with the neighbors tonight"
4. Anxiety -Alzheimers caregiver can feel very anxious about facing another day and what the future may hold. "What happens when she needs more care than I can provide?"
5. Depression -Coping with Alzheimers, caregiver stress has its affects and can cause a serious depression. "I just don't care anymore."
6. Exhaustion -To an Alzheimers caregiver, exhaustion can make it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. "I'm too tired" for this."
7. Sleeplessness -Caregiver stress from lack of sleep caused by the never-ending list of concerns and worries. "What if she wanders out of the house and gets lost or hurts herself?"
8. Irritability -A caregiver coping with the stages of Alzheimers, can feel overwhelmed and irritable. This can lead to moodiness and trigger negative responses and reactions. "Leave me alone!"
9. Lack of Concentration -An Alzheimers caregiver can lose concentration, which makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks."I was so busy I forgot we had an appointment."
10. Health Problems -Coping with the stages of Alzheimers disease can take its toll on the Alzheimers caregiver, both physically and especially mentally. "I can't remember the last time I felt good."
-Dealing with Alzheimers of a loved one can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can oftentimes be very stressful as well.
-Help from all family members is desirable for all involved, but it doesn't always work out that way and care should be taken to avoid resentment as this only increases caregiver stress.
-It's very important for the Alzheimers caregiver to be fully aware of these symptoms, and to take care of themselves as well!
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