The stages of Alzheimer’s have been divided into three stages and into 7 stages.
Most commonly, Alzheimer’s is divided into three stages: early, moderate and end. Which is useful because it’s quite straightforward. And, it tells you everything you need to know.
However, for people who want a more granular understanding of the disease, The Reisberg system, breaks the progression down into seven stages. This system was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University.
Reisberg’s seven stages of Alzheimer’s
Many healthcare professionals around America are said to use this system as is the Alzheimer’s Association.
As one of the most insidious diseases suffered by people over 45, Alzheimer’s has no cure (yet), and has been known to cause death. This is why Reisberg’s seven stages are so important. The more granular our understanding of this disease, the closer we come to finding a cure.
The seven stages are:
Stage one: no impairment
As the name of the stage says, there’s no visible symptoms at this stage. No memory loss or physical impairment are in evidence.
Stage two: very mild decline
This is when memory loss starts to occur. However, it’s not quite cause for panic as this sort of memory loss is also natural for older people. If a memory test were taken at this stage, 8 out of 10 sufferers would pass, and those who didn’t would probably not be suspected of having dementia.
Stage three: mild decline
At this stage sufferers will start to have difficulty planning, organizing, remembering names of acquaintances and finding the right words during a conversation.
It’s at this stage that a memory and cognitive test would start to imply the potential of Alzheimer’s.
Stage four: moderate decline
This is the stage where it becomes obvious Alzheimer’s is the cause for memory loss. By this stage, people have trouble with simple math, forget what they ate for breakfast, and may even forget details about their life.
Stage five: moderately severe decline
At this stage, people need help managing because they experience confusion, have trouble dressing appropriately and can forget the simplest details about themselves.
At this stage, people still have some level of functionality—for example they can still go to the toilet and shower on their own. And they will know their family and close friends.
Stage 6: severe decline
If a person is suffering stage 6 they will need constant supervision. And professional care.
Some of the symptoms of stage 6 include:
- loss of bladder control
- confusion about surroundings
- potential behaviour problems
- unable to remember details of life
- can’t recognize faces
Stage 7: very severe decline
Sadly, Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease. People in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease are close to death. They lose the ability to communicate and respond to what’s going on around them, they can still utter phrases but don’t understand what’s going on.
Some people lose the ability to swallow in the final stages of Alzheimer’s as well as require constant supervision and care.