Understanding the Different Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
Different Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Understanding the Different Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Across the United States, an estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with one of the stages of Alzheimer's disease or other related forms of dementia — according to the Alzheimer's Association.The disease typically progresses in three different stages:

  1. Early stage Alzheimer's disease

  2. Moderate stage Alzheimer's disease

  3. Late stage Alzheimer's disease

Understanding the stages of Alzheimer's disease can help you and your family properly plan for the future and set reasonable expectations. The Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation is here to help every step of the way. We are one of the few comprehensive centers offering services and programs for pre-diagnosis, and all three stages of Alzheimer's, as well as Caregiver Support Groups, an in-home respite program, Music and Memory Program ®, Memory Café events and caregiver trainings.

Let's take a closer look at the three stages of Alzheimer's disease, some of the symptoms, and how LIAF can support you through your loved one’s journey.

Early Stage Alzheimer's Disease 

In the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease, your loved one may function independently, participate in social activities, and even have regular employment. Yet, those in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease typically suffer memory lapses from time to time, such as forgetting where everyday objects belong and forgetting familiar words.

Eventually, you may notice these lapses, or your loved one's physician may be able to detect problems in concentration or memory. A few additional common signs of early stage Alzheimer's disease include:

  • Problems performing work tasks or social tasks.
  • An increased amount of trouble with organizing or planning.
  • Misplacing or losing valuable objects.
  • Forgetting something quickly after being read.

How Can LIAF Help with Early Stage Alzheimer's Disease?

At LIAF, we offer fully customized and personalized programs designed to stimulate and support your loved one in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease. Our early stage programs help to prolong long-term placement at Assisted Living or nursing home facilities by encouraging daily cognitive stimulation. LIAF's early stage programs involve:

  • Creating an inviting environment to share experiences and formulate strong social bonds.
  • Engaging your loved one in meaningful activities for life enhancement and cognitive stimulation.
  • Providing personal guidance and support.

Learn more about our early stage Alzheimer's day program — AL'Z Club at Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation.

Moderate Stage Alzheimer's Disease

According to research by the Mayo Clinic, moderate Alzheimer's disease or the middle stage is typically the longest stage and can last for several years. During this stage, your loved one may experience nerve cell damage in the brain that can make it difficult for them to perform routine tasks and express themselves. A few additional common signs of moderate stage Alzheimer's disease include:

  • Feeling withdrawn or moody, particularly in mentally challenging or socially challenging situations.
  • Forgetting one's own history or having forgetfulness about events.
  • Sleep pattern changes, such as sleeping during daylight hours and being awake at night.
  • Confusion about what day it is or where they are.
  • Some individuals may experience problems managing their bowels and bladder.

How Can LIAF Help with Moderate Stage Alzheimer's Disease?

Watching your loved one go through the moderate stage of Alzheimer's disease can be troubling. You may find your role transitioning from a care partner into a more formal type of caregiver. In either case, LIAF is here to help you and your loved one with the transition. Our moderate stage Alzheimer's program is specifically designed around your loved one's abilities with a focus on empowering them to freely express themselves in a safe and supportive environment with a focus on:

  • Music therapy
  • Word games
  • Practical activities
  • Discussion of topics of interest
  • Discussion of past and present events  

Learn more about our moderate stage Alzheimer's day program — Happy Days Club at LIAF.

Late Stage Alzheimer's Disease

Late stage Alzheimer's disease is the final stage and may involve the most dramatic decline in your loved one's abilities. During the late stages of the disease may no longer be able to carry on a conversation, respond to their environment, and even control their bodily movements and functions. If your loved one is in the late stage of Alzheimer's disease you may see signs and symptoms such as:

  • The loss of the ability to communicate.
  • Becoming increasingly vulnerable to diseases and infections, especially pneumonia.
  • The need for continuous, around-the-clock assistance with personal care and daily activities.

How Can LIAF Help with Late Stage Alzheimer's Disease?

Even though your loved one is in the later stage and may be unable to communicate, most of the latest research suggests much of their core self still remains. At LIAF, we take a person-centered approach with a focus on what your loved one can do — not what they can no longer do.

Our late stage Alzheimer's disease programs involve engagement in close, one-on-one settings as well as group settings. In addition, our day program encourages your loved one to stay awake and engaged during daylight hours, so they're more likely to rest at night.

Learn more about our late stage Alzheimer's disease day program — Memory Lane Club at LIAF.

Contact Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation

The Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer's disease and other related forms of dementia — one person, one family, one community at a time.

Contact LIAF today to learn more about any of our day programs, events, caregiver support groups and more: (516) 767-6856

About the Author Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation

At the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) our mission is to improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, and their caregivers. We actively work to achieve this mission through research-based programming for all stages of Alzheimer’s, Caregiver Support Groups, in-home respite solutions, transportation options, and additional services.

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Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?