Alzheimer’s has seven stages in all spread over the early, middle, and late stages of the disease. Those stages may affect some people earlier than others. Some skip certain symptoms.
The stages are:
1st Stage – No actual signs of dementia, but it is slowly starting to damage the brain.
2nd Stage – Memory loss is starting to appear, but it’s not concerning.
3rd Stage – Cognitive issues become recognizable. Diagnostic memory tests become hard for the patient to complete.
4th Stage – Cognitive skills continue to decline. Typically, it becomes hard to count money or pay bills at this point.
5th Stage – Help with daily activities is needed. Confusion is present and often includes problems remembering important details like the home phone number or address.
6th Stage – Confusion is often overwhelming. The person may be able to put a face with a name. Behavior issues, such as anger and irritation, start to appear. Wandering, personal care, and toileting skills slip away.
7th Stage – The decline is severe. At this point, it’s normal for the Alzheimer’s patient to stop being able to communicate. The ability to swallow also goes away with time.
The Alzheimer’s Association says that the average lifespan after an official diagnosis is four to eight years. There are cases where men and women have lived for 20 years. There are also cases where the person only survived for a few years after diagnosis. With this range, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. These are the struggles that most families think others should be aware of.
It’s Ideal to Give Your Parent Time to Adjust to a Caregiver
As cognitive function deteriorates, it becomes harder for your parent to put a face to a name. If you wait until the latter stages to introduce a caregiver, your parent will struggle to bond. Your parent won’t remember meeting a new caregiver at all, so every day feels like the first time your mom or dad meets the caregiver.
It’s Common for Your Parent to Lash Out
Your parent will have days when anger and irritation take over. As language skills deteriorate, your mom or dad will become frustrated. You might find yourself on the receiving end of that anger and frustration.
You’ll Find It Hard to Visit
You may find it becomes hard to spend time with your parent. As your mom or dad forgets your name, it’s going to be even harder. Join a support group and make sure you arrange respite care.
If you’re not familiar with respite care, it’s a home health care option that allows you to take a break. Home health care aides spend time caring for your parent while you leave the house. Learn more about the cost of this service by calling our home health care agency.
For Home Health Care Services in Oakland TN, please contact the caring staff at Personal Care Services MidSouth today!