Early, Middle & Late Stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Detection of dementias can be difficult. Knowing if you’re exhibiting signs and symptoms early on is more than half of the battle. The lack of diagnosis is a major problem. According to the World Health Organization, only one fifth to one half of the cases of dementia are diagnosed. By the time diagnosis is made people are in the late stages of these progressive diseases. So, knowing the signs and symptoms of dementia can protect you.
As previously stated in this blog series, dementia is the term used for a group of cognitive disorders. Typically, these disorders are characterized by memory impairment, as well as difficulty with language, motor skills, object recognition, and executive functions – like, the ability to plan, organize, and think abstractly. Generally speaking, dementia is an illness of older adults.
In today’s blog, we will discuss the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and what one can expect.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association “Early stage” refers to individuals, irrespective of age diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease early in its development. A person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may experience mild changes in their ability to think and learn, but he or she continues to participate in daily activities, and in conversational dialogue. To others, the person may not appear to have dementia. The early stages of Alzheimer’s can last for years.
In the “Middle stages” of Alzheimer’s, damage to the brain has progressed making it difficult to express thoughts and perform routine tasks. You may notice in this stage a person jumbling words, having trouble dressing, getting frustrated, or behaving in unexpected ways, such as refusing to participate in hygienic activities.
These changes will be difficult for everyone involved. Caregivers and family members must be aware that there are resources available to help in bonding and caring for memory loss sufferers. Many days will be challenging, but keeping a positive perspective will help and make good days more enjoyable. As your relationship with the dementia sufferer changes, your positive perspective will help reform and deepen your bond with your family member. The middle stages of Alzheimer’s are usually the longest, lasting for many years. As dementia progresses, a greater level of care will be necessary, so it’s important to build a strong support network for yourself.
Finally, the Alzheimer’s Association says that in the “Late stages” of Alzheimer’s the sufferer’s needs will change and deepen. A person in the late stage of Alzheimer’s usually has difficulty eating and swallowing. As well, they will need assistance walking and eventually will be unable to walk. They will need full-time help with personal care, as they will become more vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia. Eventually, they will lose the ability to communicate with words. This stage of Alzheimer’s may last from several weeks to several years, and as the disease progresses, intensive, around-the-clock care is usually required.
Join Evangelical Homes of Michigan, Glacier Hills Senior Living Community , Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and United Methodist Retirement Communities on Feb. 8, 2015 at 7pm at Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI for the screening of Glen Campbell’s “I’ll Be Me,” which shares the journey of how he and his family navigated through the unpredictable terrain of this progressive disease.