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Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

The typical changes over time in dementia are described as “stages” – read more about the stages of dementia. The amount of care that a person with Alzheimer’s disease needs varies by stage.

Early Stage

In the early stage, many people with Alzheimer’s disease have memory-related problems such as:

  • needing help finding a lost set of keys
  • not remembering an old friend’s name

Caregivers in the earlier stages of dementia support and help the person with dementia and thus are sometimes called care partners rather than caregivers.

Moderate Stage

During the moderate stage, caregivers must help the person with AD with time-consuming or distressing tasks. For example:

  • assisting with activities of daily living – bathing, dressing, preparing food and eating, using the bathroom, etc.
  • dealing with problem behavior and personality changes

Late Stage

People in the late stage of AD often:

  • lose the ability to speak
  • lose control of their bowels
  • lose the ability to move around easily
  • require around-the-clock care

Support

Support is crucial for caregivers in every stage, and they should be reassured that they are not alone and that help is available. Your local Alzheimer’s Association is a good starting place to call when you need assistance or support in caregiving during any stage of dementia. Or call the Alzheimer’s Association 24-hour helpline anytime at 1-800-272-3900. Also, be sure to visit the section of this website on Finding Support.

Resources

Stages of Alzheimer's

Source: Alzheimer's Association
Description: This site describes the seven stages commonly used to describe the progression of Alzheimer's disease, based on the pattern of symptoms that most people with Alzheimer's exhibit.

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The Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Source: ElderCare Online
Description: This web page describes the Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) scale, a seven stage system for describing the progression of Alzheimer's disease. A section of the web page compares the level of cognitive ability to the age each skill is typically acquired and the stage of Alzheimer's disease at which it is typically lost.

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Alzheimer's Disease: Signs, Symptoms, and Stages

Source: HelpGuide.org
Description: This web page lists the typical signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and ways that people with Alzheimer's often respond to their own symptoms. There is a detailed description of signs and symptoms during the early, mid, and late stages of Alzheimer's disease.

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