Alzheimer’s disease is one of many types of dementia seen in geriatric care. The causes of dementia vary, but damage to the brain can start happening early in an individual’s life, and the areas damaged determine what symptoms a patient will show.
Alzheimer’s symptoms are distinct and progress over time, becoming more severe over the years following a diagnosis.
While the symptoms are split into stages, they can overlap or show up out of order in different people. The team at Family Medicine and Geriatric Center is here to provide a guide to the stages of Alzheimer’s so you can know what to expect as your loved one deals with the condition.
Preclinical Alzheimer’s Symptoms Present
Dementia can start developing in the brain years before Alzheimer’s symptoms start to appear. Areas of the brain associated with memory loss may show changes first but other portions can also show signs before any symptoms become apparent.
At this stage, signs will generally only show up on brain scans. You should be aware that there is a blood test in the works that can detect the toxic proteins that cause Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Mild Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Alzheimer’s symptoms in the early or mild stage tend to affect memory first. Most patients can still live independently for years, though patients younger than 65 tend to deteriorate much faster than older seniors.
At this point, memory lapses are noticeable to loved ones and even the patient. Other health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, can cause the disease to progress faster, so this is a good time to get those conditions under control to minimize their effects.
Here are some symptoms you may notice during this stage:
- Trouble recalling where an object was placed
- Issues with managing money
- Difficulties recalling recent events
- Challenges with remembering names
- Unable to stay organized
- Challenges with making plans and keeping them
- Difficulty finding words
- Trouble following conversations
- Difficulties with completing tasks at work or learning new skills
Moderate Alzheimer’s Symptoms
When moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms start, most patients will need more care and attention. This stage typically lasts the longest and may last for many years before severe symptoms start showing up. At this stage, even people unfamiliar with the patient will notice symptoms.
At this point, damage to the cells in the brain has reached a stage where many patients struggle to perform routine tasks on their own. They will typically need some assistance but can still participate in daily activities.
Here are some other symptoms you may notice, though not in every case:
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Forgetting basic information about their own life
- Changes in sleep patterns
- A tendency to wander and get lost
- Becoming frustrated or angry
- Refusing to perform some tasks like bathing or dressing
- Personality changes
- Developing compulsive behaviors
- Increasingly suspicious
- Becoming confused about the date
- Not knowing where they are
Severe Alzheimer’s Symptoms
At this point, patients will need round-the-clock specialized geriatric care as they will begin to lose the ability to communicate, respond to events around them, and can lose the ability to move.
Here are the most common symptoms when Alzheimer’s is at its most severe stage:
- Difficulty walking and standing
- Loss of languages learned later in life
- The sufferer thinks they are at an earlier time in their life
- Does not recognize loved ones
- Has difficulty communicating verbally
- May lose the ability to understand many words in their native language
- More prone to infections
- Needs help with all basic tasks
- Can’t feed themselves
- Loses bowel and bladder control
Looking for Senior Healthcare? Make an Appointment With Family Medicine & Geriatric Center
Alzheimer’s is a scary diagnosis for both patients and their loved ones. That’s why you need to seek out geriatric care from the experienced and compassionate team at Family Medicine and Geriatric Care. We can help with every stage of Alzheimer’s treatment and make sure you or your loved one are properly taken care of for years to come.