Understanding the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s, is a progressive brain disease that causes the loss of cognitive and behavioral functioning. Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and it is projected to affect 14 million by 2050. There are three general stages of the disease: Early, Middle, and Late. However, it is important to note that there is a "Preclinical Stage" that precedes the Early Stage, where subtle changes begin to occur years before truly diagnosable signs are present. Learn more about these stages and what symptoms occur as the disease progresses.
In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, an individual will begin to experience some difficulty with memory that is typically noticeable by close family and friends. He or she may not remember where they placed an object, names of new people, and something they may have just read. An individual can still maintain independence during this stage. Seeing a healthcare professional is imperative and, as the patient, being involved in future planning is important as the disease progresses and cognitive abilities worsen.
The middle stage, also commonly referred to as the moderate stage of the disease, can last for many years. It is characterized by forgetfulness, trouble with communication, change in mood, confusion, difficulty controlling bowels and bladder, and behavioral changes. Individuals will need support and assistance with daily tasks including personal hygiene care and eating. Someone at this stage should no longer be operating a vehicle and it is highly recommended that he or she have access to care at all times, whether that means moving in with a family member or into a care facility.
Lastly, the late stage is the final and most severe. Individuals are nearing the end of their life and will require 24-hour care. Many experience trouble with mobility, have difficulty swallowing and eating, are susceptible to infections, and struggle to be aware of their surroundings. Connecting with individuals during the late stage of Alzheimer’s is done using the senses. Due to the challenges that this stage presents, many families opt to move their loved one into a facility or hire a full-time caregiver. Toward the end of this stage, it is important to make sure the individual is as comfortable as possible, with many choosing hospice care for their loved one.
Comfort Keepers Grayslake Can Help With Alzheimer’s Care
At Comfort Keepers, we understand what families are going through when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. The journey is often very emotional, but through it all, it is important to know that this is something you don’t have to go through alone. Our team of dedicated caregivers is here to help and provide the highest quality care during this difficult time. Families can expect one of our caregivers to get to know their loved one on a personal level and plan activities that could help them stimulate mental or physical activities that have been shown to create more lucid thought. Additionally, our team can also assist with food prep, light house cleaning, transportation, and errands. When trying to find someone whom you trust to care for your loved ones, we encourage you to contact the highly trained and compassionate team at Comfort Keepers.