Penn Medicine tells us that there are a few things we need to know when dealing with Dementia. If someone you care about is experiencing signs of Alzheimer’s, knowing the signs of each stage can help you assist in managing the disease.
“There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s,’ explains David Wolk, MD, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, “but there are medications that can keep the symptoms from getting worse for a period of time.
Remember, Alzheimer’s affects everyone differently. The timing and severity may be different for each person, and it can be difficult to determine which stage your loved one is in because stages may overlap and are only meant to be a guideline.
According to this study, there are 7 stages of Alzheimer’s.
- Before Symptoms Appear
“Just like with many diseases, changes in the brain that are related to Alzheimer’s begin before symptoms are noticeable.”
They suggest keeping up on regular visits to your primary care to allow for screening to catch the disease at its earliest signs.
- Basic Forgetfulness
“Your loved one might have memory lapses, including forgetting people’s names or where they left their keys, but they can still drive, work and be social. However, these memory lapses become more frequent. You will probably notice this before your loved one does — and you may be able to get them treatment sooner to slow the progression.”
- Noticeable Memory Difficulties
They may forget plans they made, what the date is, and math have more difficulty retrieving a word.
“This stage may bring about more anxiety for your loved one, and some people may even deny that anything is wrong. These feelings are normal, but not talking to a physician will only allow symptoms to get worse. The best way to keep symptoms at bay is to talk to your loved one’s physician about treatment options, including medications, and care planning.”
- More Than Memory Loss
“During this stage — which can last for many years — your loved one will experience major difficulties with memory. They may still remember significant details about their life, such as who they are married to or what state they live in. Their memory of the distant past will usually be significantly better than their memory of day-to-day information, such as what they saw on the news or a conversation from earlier in the day.”
This stage can be very frustrating for your loved one.
- Decreased Independence
In this stage, your loved one will likely have trouble remembering people that are important to them, such as close family and friends. They may struggle with learning new things, and basic tasks like getting dressed might be too much for them.
Until now, you may have been able to just check on them every once in a while.
- Severe Symptoms
“Significant personality changes may continue to occur, including increased anxiety, hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. As their independence continues to decrease, your loved one may become more frustrated with you. There are both medicines and behavioral strategies that may help in these instances which you can discuss with your care team.”
- Lack of Physical Control
“Knowing how far the dementia from Alzheimer’s has progressed is important, but that’s just the beginning. With this knowledge, you can communicate more easily with your loved one’s physicians and ensure they’re getting the treatment they need.”
Here at Bel Aire Senior Living, we have a memory care center. We hope this information can help while navigating this extremely difficult illness. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be very demanding and hard work. We have trained aides and a trained activities director who specializes in Dementia/Alzheimer’s care. We lead them through sensory and tactile activities that help them to have breakthroughs in their dementia which can give them moments of lucidity. We want to offer the best care to your loved one.