Julie and her sisters had noticed that their dad seemed to be forgetting things. At first, they chalked it up to his advanced age. But, when he began having periods of confusion and got lost driving home from the grocery store, they knew it was time to get help. Eventually, Julie’s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Julie’s family knew a bit about the disease, but they wondered what that meant for their dad’s future, and for theirs.
If Julie’s story sounds familiar, you may be trying to learn everything you can about Alzheimer’s disease and how it progresses. Though some experts describe Alzheimer’s as having five stages, some three, and still others seven, all of them agree that it progresses in stages. The experience is different for everyone, but the general progression is the same.
General Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association describes three general stages of the disease, starting with the mild stage, which begins after people are aware of the disease. However, the Mayo Clinic describes five stages, beginning before the disease is diagnosed. The stages described by the Mayo Clinic are:
- Preclinical: This stage of Alzheimer’s happens before there are any symptoms for the patient or their family to notice. During this stage, changes in the brain are already occurring, including the development of protein deposits. This stage can last for many years, but the deposits may be noticed using imaging technologies.
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): A person with MCI will have some memory problems and changes in the way they think. They often forget recent events, conversations, or other information they should easily remember. They may make poor decisions.
- Mild Dementia: This is the stage in which Alzheimer’s is most often diagnosed. The person has noticeable memory impairment and cognitive problems that make daily life difficult. They may exhibit changes in personality, get lost, or lose things.
- Moderate Dementia: In this stage, the person needs more help because they are increasingly confused and have even more difficulty with memory. They have trouble taking care of themselves and with daily activities.
- Severe Dementia: During this stage, cognitive abilities continue to decline. Now, there may be a decline in the person’s physical abilities and in their movement.
How quickly an individual progresses through the stages varies. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is eight to ten years. However, some people live for 20 years or more.
The best time to begin thinking about the help your aging family member will need as they progress through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease is during the early stages. The family can make decisions together about how care will be provided when your loved one is no longer able to live independently. One option that can help people with Alzheimer’s to live longer in their own homes is a senior care provider. A senior care provider can come to the person’s house to assist them with personal care, like grooming, bathing, toileting, and dressing. Senior care providers can also help with household tasks, including cleaning, cooking, and laundry.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Spokane, WA, please contact the friendly staff at Love at Home Senior Care, today. Call (509) 204-4088
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