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Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's is a kind of mental illness that causes or creates problems with memory, thinking, and behavior or actions. Typical symptoms usually develop gradually and worsen over time, becoming severe enough to get in the way of daily living.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a person can still function independently, and symptoms are not very noticeable. The person may start to forget some everyday words, the names of people, or the location of something, and he may have problems with keeping things organized.

 

The next stage is moderate Alzheimer’s and is usually the longest of the three stages. A person may be in this stage for many years, and the symptoms are noticeable to family members and caregivers.  A person in this stage may not want to be with others, may be confused about the date or about his location, and he may forget his address or phone number and sleep during the day but stay up at night.  He also may not be able to control his bladder. As the disease progresses, the person may become suspicious, have delusions, and develop compulsive and repetitive actions such as repeating words or squeezing his hands.

The last stage of Alzheimer’s disease is when the person is not able to respond or react to his environment.  He may not be able to have a conversation, control movements, or remember family members. As the disease progresses, he may need full-time care.

Here are some ways you can create a calm and soothing environment for a patient or resident with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Keep calm and be patient – remember the patient/resident is not in control of his or her actions because of the disease

  • Keep patient/resident away from loud sounds or noises – turn off loud radio or TV

  • Use simple words and sentences and speak in a low voice

  • Ask one question at a time and repeat if necessary

  • Help patient/resident exercise to reduce stress, if appropriate

  • Use soft, calming music

  • Help patient/resident remember the past and a less stressful time

  • Create a calm environment with pets or pet therapy

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners