Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain that cannot be reversed and progressively deteriorates an individual’s memory, cognition, and ability to perform basic tasks. It is the most common form of dementia—a broad term used for describing severe cognitive decline impacting daily life functions.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder, with symptoms becoming increasingly severe as it progresses. There are several stages of progression associated with this condition. So, what are the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s?
No Dementia Seen
Stage 1, or normal, is a state of mental health where someone has no objective or subjective symptoms of cognitive and functional decline, as well as any associated behavioral and mood changes at any age.
Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) is a condition that affects many people over the age of 65, though it may not be noticeable to those around them. SCD can cause memory loss such as difficulty remembering names or where items were placed and these symptoms tend to worsen with time.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Those close to someone with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) may notice subtle deficits in them. This can be seen through the repetition of questions, difficulty learning new tasks such as using a computer and organizing social events like dinner parties. Concentration problems and heightened anxiety are also common symptoms associated with this condition.
At stage 4 of Alzheimer’s Disease, individuals may still be able to live independently in their community setting but will often display signs of emotional flatness and withdrawal due to denial about their condition. However, they have increased difficulty carrying out instrumental (complex) activities such as paying bills or shopping on their own. Memory loss also becomes increasingly apparent at this point; people are more likely to forget recent events or even the date/season.
At this advanced stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, individuals are no longer able to live independently in the community. They may forget what clothing is suitable for different occasions and have difficulty recalling current events such as who is head of state or knowing their address correctly—information that was once familiar but has been lost due to memory impairment. In addition, they can struggle with basic calculations like counting backward from 20 by 2s despite having an educational background. Typically lasting 1.5 years, those diagnosed at this point will require assistance with daily activities such as food preparation and making rent payments; if not properly supported they could become angry or suspicious towards others around them.
Moderately Severe Dementia
At stage 6 of Alzheimer’s disease, individuals may need help with simple activities such as dressing. Without assistance, they might struggle to put on their clothes in the right order. As this stage progresses, the person affected by AD will begin exhibiting a noticeable decline in speech abilities; signs like stuttering (verbigeration), inventing new words or phrases, and speaking fewer words become more apparent.
At the last stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, individuals need constant assistance with their daily tasks. This seventh and final stage is further divided into six phases, which together span around 4 1/2 years. During Stage 7a, speech becomes reduced to a few understandable words or even less. Rigidness in major joints such as elbows usually occurs during these stages for people living with AD.
It is essential to keep in mind that everybody’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease can be different. It cannot be treated the same way for everyone, since there is no universal solution available. However, although a cure does not exist yet, treatments and interventions have been found which can help delay its effects and improve the quality of life for those affected by it.