Dementia Caring

Understanding the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia? It accounts for 50-75% of all dementia cases in Australia.

We recently discussed the stages of dementia, but based on its prevalence, we felt it was time to identify the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Let’s review the 7 stages:

Stage 1: Normal Behaviour

This stage can last for years and does not present any visible symptoms. More likely than not, an individual won’t know they have the disease unless they have a family history of the illness or have received a PET scan with affirmative indicators.

Stage 2: Very Mild Impairment

Although forgetfulness is not uncommon in individuals aged 65 or over, the rate of decline will occur more quickly in those with Stage 2 Alzheimer’s disease. They may begin forgetting words, names, or misplacing items.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

Within Stage 3, the signs of decline become more obvious, as individuals start forgetting things they just read, struggle to concentrate, and have trouble staying organised. This period typically lasts about 7 years and the symptoms become clear to the loved one of a sufferer within 2 to 4 years.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

Here, symptoms and struggles are immediately obvious, and a physician can diagnose the illness with relative accuracy. Alzheimer’s sufferers struggle to manage their finances, lose track of the month or season, and even forget details about themselves.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

You begin to identify challenges in basic daily tasks, including inappropriate clothing choices for the weather or occasions, an inability to remember their own phone number or address, and even failure to nourish themselves regularly and properly.