What are the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?
There are three stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. The early (mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe). In the early stage, a person may function independently, they may still drive, work and become part of social activities. Despite of all that he or she may feel as if they are having memory lapses, like forgetting familiar words or locating everyday objects. Close friends and families will be able to recognize the difficulties he or she may be having. Doctors may be able to detect problems in memory and concentration, they include problems coming up with the right name and words, trouble remembering names when introduced to new people and also losing or misplacing valuable objects. The middle stage of Alzheimer’s Disease is the longest stage and can last for many years. You may notice that in this stage, the person becomes more frustrated and angry. He or she may act in unexpected ways. Damage to the nerve cells in the brain can make it difficult to express thoughts and emotions. At this point, symptoms become more noticeable. The person becomes forgetful of events about own personal history and is confused on what day it is and where they are. Personality and behavior changes include suspiciousness, delusion, and compulsive, repetitive behavior like handwriting or tissue shredding. Lastly, in the final stage individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and eventually to control movement. Simple words and phrases may be said, but communicating becomes difficult. As memory worsens, significant personality changes may take place and the individual will need extensive help with daily activities. At this stage individuals may lose awareness of recent experience, experience changes in physical abilities like walking, sitting, and eventually swallowing.
Alzheimer’s Disease does not only affect the person who has the disease, but it also affects the person who takes care of the individual. Caring for a person who has Alzheimer’s can have high physical, emotional, and financial costs. Family role changes, due to demands of day to day care. Becoming well informed about the disease is an important long term strategy. There are programs that teach families various ways how to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges. Good coping skills, strong support network and respite care are great ways that help caregivers handle the stress of dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease.
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