Signs & Symptoms Experienced During the stages of Alzheimer’s
Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate. This seven-stage framework is based on a system developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.
Sign 1: No impairment (normal function)
A person will not exhibit any memory loss nor can it be detected when medically examined.
Sign 2: Very mild cognitive degeneration.
Detection at times cannot be distinguished between age related changes or the beginning of Alzheimer’s.
Individuals may experience memory lapses like forgetting common words or the location of everyday objects. Still, no symptoms can be detected at this stage.
Sign 3: Mild cognitive degeneration. (Early stage Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed in some, but not all).
At this stage friends, family or co-workers may begin to notice difficulties.
Common stage 3 difficulties include:
• Problems verbalizing the right words or names
• Difficulty remembering names when being introduced to new people
• Greater difficulty executing tasks in social and work settings
• Misplacing or even losing valuable objects
• Increased difficulty in planning and organizing
Sign 4: Moderate cognitive degeneration (Early stage Alzheimer’s disease)
By this time with careful medical examining a doctor should be able to see several areas demonstrating signs of Alzheimer’s.
Individuals will show:
• Forgetfulness of recent events and activities, or of one’s personal history
• Impaired ability when attempting challenging mental math – for example, counting backwards from a high number
• Heightened difficulty performing execution functions, like planning a dinner for guests, paying bills or management of some task.
• Displaying moody and withdrawn behaviors
Sign 5: Moderately severe cognitive degeneration (Middle stage Alzheimer’s disease)
Now, Alzheimer’s sufferers are experiencing gaps in memory and in thinking.
Individuals will demonstrate:
• Visible confusion about where they are or what day it is
• Trouble with less challenging mental math, like, counting by 5s
• Help in choosing clothing will be needed
• Although, they can still remember significant details about themselves and their family members
• No assistance with eating or using the toilet
Sign 6: Severe cognitive degeneration (Middle stage Alzheimer’s disease)
Their memory will continue to decline. Personality changes and the need for in-depth assistance in daily activities may be needed by this time.
By this point, individuals may:
• Have loss of awareness – not aware of recent experiences or their surroundings
• Difficulty remembering their own name and their personal history
• Increased difficulty in remembering the name of a spouse or caregiver, but can distinguish familiar from unfamiliar
• Hygienic care assistance deepens
• Significant changes in sleeping patterns
• Will need help with details of the toilet
• Major personality and behavioral changes and delusions
• Wandering and becoming lost more frequent
Sign 7: Very severe cognitive degeneration (Late stage Alzheimer’s disease)
During the final stages of Alzheimer’s individuals will lose the ability to carry a conversation, respond to stimuli, and eventually movement control. They may be able to say a few words by this point.
Here individuals will need:
• Complete help with personal hygiene
• Eating and using the toilet
• Possible loss of sitting without support, smiling, and to hold their heads up
• Reflexes become abnormal
• Muscle rigidity
• Swallowing eventually becomes impaired
Remember: It is difficult to place a person with Alzheimer’s in a specific stage as stages may overlap.
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.