Moderate Stage Alzheimer's Disease
According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, middle or moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease can last for several years and is typically the longest stage. As the Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one will undoubtedly require a greater level of care and support.It's equally important for you as the caregiver to get the support you need. And the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation (LIAF) is here to help every step of the way.
What to Expect in Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s Disease?
During the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one may have difficulty performing routine tasks and expressing their thoughts due to significant changes to their brain. It can be troubling to watch the one you’ve loved and the person who has possibly cared for become less independent.
In moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one may become even more dependent on you for care and assistance with daily living activities. A person with moderate Alzheimer’s disease may exhibit the following symptoms:
Memory Impairments May Manifest As:
- Very poor memory for recent events, for example completing a meal and then saying, “When do we eat?”
- Incorrectly remembering events, for example mixing up details of multiple stories or making up the details to fill in the blanks in his or her memory (confabulation)
Disorientation to Places, Times, or People May Manifest As:
- Not knowing the name or relationship of a close relative, for example, a man calling his wife his mother
- Behaving as if he or she were living in the past, for example:
- Getting ready for work in the morning, even though he or she has been retired for many years
- Looking for young children, even though their children are grown
- Looking for relatives who are deceased
- Increased difficulty performing skilled movement like:
- Difficulty using eating utensils at a meal
- Inability to operate machinery, such as a washing machine or oven
- Inability to tie shoelaces, fasten a bra, button shirts, or zip pants
Difficulties with Language May Manifest As:
- Needing more time and effort to express oneself
- Difficulty finding words or misusing words (aphasia)
- Speech that does not make sense or is difficult for others to understand
Loss of Inhibitions May Manifest As:
- Making inappropriate comments or jokes
- Using swear words or other vulgar language
- Behaving in a sexually provocative way
- Attempting to undress in public
Additional Agitation Can Show up As:
- Anger or anxiety related to:
- Inability to express needs
- Being faced with an overwhelming or confusing situation
- Verbal outbursts
- Physical outbursts
Wandering, Pacing, Fidgeting, or Restlessness May Manifest As:
- Being unable to sit still
- Wandering or pacing around the house
- Wandering off and becoming lost
Problems Sleeping Can Cause:
- Increase or decrease in sleepiness and amount of sleep
- Mixed up day-night sleep cycle
Social Withdrawals May Manifest in Scenarios Like:
- Feeling awkward in group situations, especially when with others who do not have memory impairment
- Becoming increasingly dependent upon the caregiver. The caregiver becomes a “security blanket.”
Increased Need for Assistance and Supervision May Manifest As:
- Requiring assistance with day-to-day tasks, such as bathing or dressing
- Needing prompts to perform daily activities
- Requiring supervision much of the time
Increased Late-Day Confusion or Sundowning May Result in:
- Increased confusion in the evenings
- Wanting to “Go Home” when in one’s own home
Delusions or Hallucinations May Manifest As:
- Seeing or hearing people or things that are not there
- Mistaken but firmly held beliefs that are not based in reality – may be paranoid in nature
Changes in Eating Habits May Manifest As:
- Erratic eating
- Forgetting to eat
- Forgetting they've eaten and eating again
- Weight loss or weight gain
What Can Caregivers Do for Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s Disease?
Caring for a loved one with moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease requires patience and flexibility. As a caregiver, you'll need to take on more responsibilities. Their daily routines may need to be adapted to accommodate the new reality, and a new structure will become even more important.
As you gain more and more experience caring for your loved one, it is important to for you to develop strategies to cope. The healthier you are, the better level of understanding, patience, and care you can provide. A few tips you can use include:
- Avoid isolating yourself and research respite services available through LIAF in your community.
- Don’t turn down friends and family members’ offers for assistance.
- Research all of your options along the journey of paying for long-term care
- Use a calm voice whenever responding to your loved one’s repeated questions
- Make it a point to educate yourself on what to expect in moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease
- Instead of responding to the specific question, respond to the emotion. In many instances, your loved one needs reassurance.
- If your loved one is still able to read, use simple written reminders to provide guidance.
- Stay up to date on any medication side effects or physical problems.
Contact LIAF for Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s Help
For 30 years, we've helped people suffering from moderate stage Alzheimer's as well as their caregivers. Throughout our tenure, we've learned the value of caregivers finding healthy and supportive outlets in our Caregiver Support Groups facilitated by a licensed Master’s level social worker. Within our groups, you’ll be surrounded by others who truly understand the complex feelings regularly associated with caring for a loved one with moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease.
We also offer an innovative program for moderate stage Alzheimer's, transportation services, in-home respite care, and support along your journey.
To learn more about the services we provide for moderate stage Alzheimer's, contact LIAF by calling (516) 767-6856 or by completing our online contact form.