The most common cause of Alzheimer’s disease is dementia. In a recent blog post we discussed at length the confusing difference between the the two. The cognitive impairment of Alzheimer’s disease progresses slowly once symptoms appear. The family and friends of a patient with Alzheimer’s are challenged as routine activities become more difficult with each passing day. This emotional roller coaster can be lonely, frightening and frustrating for caregivers.
This sadly debilitating disease has some early signs and basically 3 stages. Although there are those who break the stages into 5 or 7 parts, we will deal with the 3 main stages.
Before Symptoms Appear
New imaging technologies can determine someone’s propensity for developing Alzheimer’s long before any symptoms appear. Protein deposits may be found in the brain, forewarning its development. Genetic tests and biomarkers can also indicate increased risk of the disease. These new discoveries may aid in finding the cause and future cure.
Early Stage: Mild
Once symptoms and behaviours appear a patient is in the early, mild stage of Alzheimer’s. Their abilities begin to change. Many in the mild stage lead normal productive lives. The first changes are memory lapses and some confusion such as:
Difficulty choosing the right word
Difficulty doing tasks in social settings or at work
Losing something important or valuable
Increasing trouble being organized—for example, difficulty carrying out the sequence of tasks involved in planning a dinner
Middle Stage: Moderate
The middle stage can last for years as confusion increases. As time passes an Alzheimer’s patient needs more and more care. They are easily frustrated and can become angry, and it becomes harder and harder for them to express themselves.
Common symptoms of the moderate stage are:
Confusion about the day of the week, where they are, their address and phone number
Reversed sleep patterns
Risk of wandering off and getting lost
Tasks like balancing a checkbook become frustrating or impossible
Asking the same questions over and over
Memory loss for especially recent events
Changes in normal behaviour like agitation at dusk, suspicion toward others, and even becoming aggressive
Patients in this stage need assistance with daily care. Seek help from C-Care Health Services, who are professionally trained to care for the needs of Alzheimer’s patients. We can help with dressing, bathing, meals, and more.
Late Stage: Severe
This stage requires constant care. There are changes to mobility and mental function.
Loss of the ability to communicate
Needing help with all personal care: bathing, using the toilet, dressing, eating
Total decline in physical abilities, for example, abnormal reflexes, rigid muscles, even problems swallowing.
At some point it will become impossible for family and friends to adequately care for their loved one.
Call on the compassionate caregivers at C-Care Health Services if your loved one is in any of the 3 stages of Alzheimer’s disease. We are here to help with all their needs.
Free care service for the first 8 hours on a monthly commitment.