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7 Stages of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that worsens over time. The progression rate and age of onset of Alzheimer’s varies from one person to the next. People may develop symptoms anywhere between the ages of 40 and 90, and some of them can live with the condition for four to eight years.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder home care. Lehigh Valley families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Typically, there are 7 stages of Alzheimer’s seniors experience.

1. Normal Behavior

During the first phase, the individual does not exhibit any unusual symptoms. However, a PET scan can detect brain tissue abnormalities and possible malfunctions in early stages. As the disease progresses, symptoms eventually begin manifesting. 

2. Mild Changes

Initially, family members may not notice any cognitive changes in their loved one. However, the senior may begin recognizing something is amiss. He or she might misplace items or have difficulty finding the right word for a particular object. However, the mental changes are so insignificant they do not interfere with daily living activities or work. 

3. Slight Cognitive Decline

During this phase, close family members may begin noticing changes in their loved one’s reasoning and thinking abilities. The senior may take more time to read than usual, ask the same questions repeatedly, find it difficult to make plans, and display symptoms of disorganization. Family members can help the situation by ensuring their loved one’s financial obligations are met. If the senior is working, he or she may need to decrease the number of work hours or consider retiring. Financial and legal affairs must also be addressed. 

4. Moderate Cognitive Decline

By now, outsiders start to notice a senior’s reasoning and thinking impairment. Seniors may begin forgetting information about themselves. When filling out a check, they may insert the wrong day or amount. Determining the month and time of year also becomes difficult for them. During this phase, family members may need to closely monitor daily tasks and ensure personal safety. 

5. Serious Cognitive Decline

At this stage, the senior may begin to lose track of time and direction, forget his or her phone number, address, and how to get home. He or she might have difficulty deciding how to dress appropriately for the weather. The details or facts revolving around situations may become jumbled or misplaced. 

At this stage, family members should consider hiring a professional caregiver. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. Lehigh Valley, PA, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself.

6. Severe Cognitive Decline

In this late phase, a senior may recognize faces but no longer remember names, mistaking one person for another. This is especially true if family members from different generations resemble one another. Delusional thought processes may begin. The senior might feel the need to care for children. Affected older adults may need to be reminded to use the bathroom throughout the day. 

7. Extremely Severe Cognitive Decline

Even the basic ability to perform daily activities has disappeared at this stage. Seniors may no longer be able to eat, drink, and use the bathroom without assistance, and they may not be able to sit, stand, or walk. During this phase, the senior requires complete and comprehensive care.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s have much to gain when their families opt for professional Alzheimer’s care. Lehigh Valley, PA, families can rely on compassionate and dedicated caregivers to help their elderly loved ones manage the various challenges of Alzheimer’s disease so they can enjoy a higher quality of life. If you’re in need of a dedicated, professional, and compassionate caregiver for your aging loved one, call us at Home Care Assistance at 484-350-3874 today