What Are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

By Raz Silberman, 9:00 am on

Alzheimer’s disease can be a frightening diagnosis for both seniors and their loved ones.

Family caregivers should learn how to prevent their loved ones from developing the disease. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, read up on how it affects the body. The disease has seven stages. 

Stage 1

The first stage of Alzheimer’s can only be diagnosed with medical intervention because there is no obvious change in the senior’s behavior. Only a PET scan of the brain can detect the disease at this stage.

Stage 2

Stage two is quite similar to stage one, and you or your loved one may still not notice anything is wrong. Your loved one may occasionally forget something or misplace an item, but everyone does this from time to time, so you may not take it seriously. Some doctors can even miss the diagnosis at this stage. 

Stage 3

During the third stage, you may notice your loved one acting a little differently. He or she may repeat questions, forget what he or she just said, or miss important dates and appointments. At this stage you may need to step in and help or guide some everyday activities like bill payment, feeding the pets, and keeping important appointments. 

Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Plano, TX, respite home care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.

Stage 4

By stage four, your loved one may need to stop driving and retire from work if he or she is still employed. The memory loss becomes worse, and your loved one may forget how to write a check or order food in a restaurant. This is when the disease can become dangerous. Your loved one could forget to turn off the stove after cooking or fail to remember that it’s winter and wear summer clothing outdoors. 

Stage 5

By stage five, your loved one will probably not be able to live alone without help. A family member or professional caregiver may need to help your loved one get dressed or provide reminders about personal facts such as his or her name and address. The behaviors exhibited in stage four will most likely become worse. At this point, patience and reassurance are key to helping your loved one through the frustration. Help your loved one feel as though he or she still has some independence. 

Stage 6

During stage six, seniors with Alzheimer’s typically become delusional some or most of the time. They may mistake a stranger for their late spouse or attempt to go to their old workplace. They may also need help with everyday tasks like getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and eating meals. Try to appeal to your loved one’s senses by looking at old photos or listening to music together. 

Stage 7

Stage seven is the most severe. At this stage, the senior can no longer function independently. Your loved one may have trouble eating and swallowing and will need to be fed soft foods. He or she may lose the ability to walk or even sit up. Your loved one should receive plenty of around-the-clock care at this stage. 

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. In Plano, TX, families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Prevention Tips 

If you are worried about your senior loved one developing Alzheimer’s, encourage him or her do the following to help reduce the risk:

  • Go to the doctor and address heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions that have been linked to Alzheimer’s.
  • Get moving. Approximately 30 minutes of walking, swimming, biking, or gardening a day can help.
  • Read, learn a language, take up a new hobby, do some puzzles, or play board games because the brain also needs exercise.
  • Stop smoking and cut back on alcohol consumption.
  • Get enough quality sleep every day.
  • Eat better. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables, especially berries, which have been found to decrease Alzheimer’s risk. Encourage your loved one to eat plenty of fish packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart and brain.

For many families in Plano, TX, Alzheimer’s care is an essential component of helping their elderly loved ones remain healthy, safe, and happy in the comfort of home. From cognitive stimulation to help with tasks like meal prep, light housekeeping, and transportation, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance are the top choice for families who cannot provide the Alzheimer’s care their aging loved ones need and deserve. Call a qualified Care Manager at (214) 586-0120 to learn about our senior home care services and to schedule a free in-home consultation.