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.