Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses through several main stages marked by varying levels of severity. Although the transition from one stage to the next is often subtle, you can use this guide to notice when your senior loved one’s care needs are changing.
Signs Your Loved One May Have Alzheimer’s
The earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease tends to begin pre-diagnosis. During this period, your loved one’s brain is undergoing changes that may not be evident yet in his or her everyday interactions. If you or your loved one notice symptoms, they may be laughed off as senior moments such as forgetting to take a pill. As these symptoms begin to happen more often, your loved one’s friends or physician may be able to detect them and express concern. While some seniors may try to brush this off, early detection and treatment is the best way to slow the progression of the disease through the next several stages.
What to Look for in the First Stages
The first stages are considered a mild form of Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, seniors can continue to live independently, but they may begin to require some accommodations. For example, your loved one may put an alarm on his or her keys that allows him or her to relocate them after a bout of memory loss. Calendars, smartphone alarms, and writing things down are all common solutions to the memory challenges that occur during this stage. Depending on your loved one’s personality, you can also expect him or her to deny the diagnosis at first, or he or she may refuse assistance when offered. If this happens with your loved one, continue to be compassionate as you talk about the condition until he or she comes around to your point of view.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. McKinney families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Common Symptoms Noticed with the Middle Stages
The middle, or moderate, stages of Alzheimer’s can last for quite a few years. At this point, the symptoms may be noticeable to people outside of your loved one’s social circle. For instance, your loved one may forget people’s names or forget what he or she is talking about mid-conversation. This is also the stage where your loved one may do things such as forget to bathe or skip meals accidently. To address symptoms such as these and alleviate frustration, you may need to increase your loved one’s level of care to include more assistance with daily activities.
If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. McKinney seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Things to Expect in the Later Stages
Although it may be difficult to think or talk about, planning now for the future gives your loved one reassurance that he or she will be okay. In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one may need around-the-clock monitoring to prevent wandering. Once it’s clear your loved one is moving into the later stages of Alzheimer’s, make sure to provide adequate support so he or she can continue to enjoy a high quality of life.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of McKinney elderly care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Call (972) 548-0392 to learn about our premier Alzheimer’s home care plans.