Alzheimer’s is a progressive form of dementia that has been diagnosed in over 5.1 million Americans. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but those who understand this disorder and its impact on seniors can help alleviate the symptoms. Here is a quick look at the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s and a few tips to provide your loved one with the best possible care.
1. No Impairment
During the earliest stages of this disorder, seniors exhibit no symptoms. The only way to diagnose your loved one in the first stage of Alzheimer’s is with an MRI, and the results will most likely still be inconclusive. Those who are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s should consider scheduling MRIs at least once every few years starting at the age of 55.
2. Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline is a natural part of growing older, and even seniors in the second stage of Alzheimer’s often think and act in a perfectly normal manner. They generally don’t notice anything other than minor symptoms such as forgetting names or misplacing their keys. Seniors who experience these symptoms must continue to challenge their cognitive abilities as much as possible to keep the neural pathways healthy.
3. Mild Cognitive Decline
During the third stage, friends and family members might begin to notice unusual actions and behaviors, which may include stumbling over words or having a difficult time making plans. If your loved one is exhibiting unusual behaviors, contact a doctor and have your loved one screened for Alzheimer’s.
4. Moderate Cognitive Decline
Even in the fourth stage of Alzheimer’s, the symptoms often appear to be nothing more than age-related cognitive decline. Seniors typically find more complex actions like reading, writing, and arithmetic challenging. Families will most likely need to discuss hiring a caregiver during this stage to help their senior loved one with everyday activities.
A McKinney caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver can address these and many other health-related concerns.
5. Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Aging adults in the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s almost always need part-time assistance from a caregiver. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. McKinney families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
If your loved one is living alone during this stage, he or she may be at risk for dangerous situations and should never be left alone for too long. While this stage of Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming, you can still enhance your loved one’s quality of life by spending time together and making sure he or she is socially and mentally stimulated.
6. Severe Cognitive Decline
In the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s, seniors require nonstop supervision from an experienced caregiver. They will no longer be able to independently carry out vital tasks such as feeding and bathing. During this stage, your goal should be to make your loved one as comfortable and safe as possible. This includes maintaining a safe environment where he or she doesn’t have access to dangerous products such as medications and sharp cutlery.
7. Very Severe Cognitive Decline
The seventh stage of Alzheimer’s can last from a few months to three years or longer. While your loved one won’t be able to care for him or herself, providing a safe and comfortable environment can enhance his or her quality of life. Simple gestures such as playing music he or she once loved or sitting out in the sun on a nice day can be therapeutic for your loved one.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who do not have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. For trusted McKinney Alzheimer’s care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. For more information on our in-home care services, please call (972) 548-0392 to schedule a complimentary consultation.