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Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s

Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s – Stage Four

Firsthand experience with people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be misleading. Symptoms appear, the diagnosis is confirmed, and the individual shows increasingly severe signs of cognitive impairment. As time goes on, the decline becomes more evident and more rapid. Alzheimer’s may take as long as 25 years or more to progress from the initial stages to the end of life.

Stage Four – Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

At this stage, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made with considerable certainty. The individual exhibits increased difficulty with numbers, often apparent in their inability to manage finances (e.g., they frequently write the wrong date or wrong amount on checks or payment slips). They may have trouble remembering the day of the week or month of the year. They may forget details from their own past. As their personal frustration with these previously simple tasks increases, they become more reserved and less responsive to others. Rather than acknowledge the pain of their situation, they attempt to deny it; to hide it – even from themselves – by withdrawing from conversations and social interaction. Studies show this stage averages two years.

Diagnosing Alzheimer's

Losing Track of Time, Disorientation

Alzheimer’s warning signs: Getting confused with the date or seasons; difficulty keeping track of time and understanding future or past events; forgetting where they are and how they got there.
Normal memory changes: Getting confused about what day it is, then figuring it out later.

Isolation and Withdrawal

Alzheimer’s warning signs: Less participation in social activities, work, hobbies; can be caused by difficulty remembering how to do a hobby or feeling embarrassed by their memory changes.
Normal memory change: Occasionally wanting a break from social, work or family commitments.

While the specific symptoms and rate of decline may vary, researchers have identified seven stages in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to note that while symptoms described here are typical of Alzheimer’s, confirmation of the disease requires professional medical diagnosis.

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Early diagnosis and therapies can help prolong independence.

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