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Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s
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Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s – Stage Seven

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 Seven – Late-stage Care

In Stage 7, or what is often termed “late-stage Alzheimer’s,” individuals require continuous assistance in order to survive. At this stage, speech is limited to a handful of intelligible words at most. The individual subsequently loses all ability to speak. This is soon followed by a decrease in their ability to walk. Eventually movement itself is limited, and they become unable to sit or even hold their head up without assistance. The diminished functioning also affects their ability to smile, with the only observable facial expression being a grimace. Victims of late-stage Alzheimer’s may live on in this tragic condition for many years, although because of other contributing factors such as pneumonia, aspiration, severe flu, infection, cancer, COPD, CHF, etc., this last stage rarely lasts more than two years. Those who do live on are likely to exhibit increased rigidity as well as “infantile” reflexes such as sucking before finally succumbing.

Woman helping elderly lady with Alzheimer's

Changes in the Ability to Complete Everyday Tasks

Alzheimer’s warning signs: Difficulty driving to a place they go often, or remembering how to play a game, or managing budgets at home or work.

Normal memory changes: Occasionally needing help to figure out how to use electronics.

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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