If you are new to Alzeimer’s and uncertain of what to expect, there is a brief summary of the three stages–early, middle, and late. At the onset, symptoms are usually fairly mild and may not be that noticeable. The first stage is said to last two to four years. In the middle stage the decline will be more obvious. They will need assistance with personal care, with more frequent reminders. The length of this stage varies greatly. It may last only a few years or it may go on more than ten. The last stage of the disease is normally briefer, from one to three years. During this period the patients usually need total support and care.
Early symptoms you will notice
- Sometimes they have trouble speaking the correct words or finishing a sentence.
- The repeat themselves often.
- They often forget conversations, appointments and events that happened right after they occur.
- Problems with writing and thinking of what to say when writing.
- It becomes difficult to use a telephone or remote control.
- They need reminders for daily activities.
- It becomes difficult to handle their finances and deal with mail.
- They may experience mood swings and even character changes.
- They may get lost walking or driving even close to home.
Middle stage symptoms
- They have more trouble in doing small routine things
- Their forgetfulness increases their difficulty in handling their daily life which increases their stress.
- Confused speech, confusion about time and place and events are more common.
- They tend to get confused in familiar settings, putting things away in the wrong places.
- Many patients suffer from disrupted sleep patterns as well as behavioral issues.
- They are most likely to be affected by Sundowner’s during this stage.
- The majority of patients will have emotional/behavioral problems that worsen when they are stressed.
- Walking becomes more difficult as mobility is affected. You may see stiffness, shaking, and lack of desire to be up and around.
- They may grow paranoid.
- They often grow confused, thinking themselves in their past–often childhood.
- They don’t recognize familiar people including their spouse and children.
- They have increased difficulty speaking, and sometimes are nearly unable to speak.
- They can’t care for themselves, and need help dressing and with personal care, etc.
- They need regular reminders to eat or possibly assistance eating.
- Walking becomes more difficult and tentative which increases falls.
- They often become immobile or wheelchair bound.
- Trouble swallowing may Increase risk of choking.
- They usually become incontinent and more susceptible to infections.