Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Mild (Early) Stage
In its early stages, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are generally not severe enough to affect work or relationships, but they may have an impact on daily life in general. At this stage, the patient typically is still independent but may experience memory problems (such as not recalling recent events or misplacing items), difficulty learning new things, and mood swings (depression, anxiety, irritability, apathy, and/or confusion), as well as difficulties making decisions.
Moderate (Middle) Stage
As the disease progresses, the patient’s memory problems increase in severity, and he or she may require more care and attention to complete daily activities. People with moderate Alzheimer’s may have difficulty remembering their personal history, locations of known places, people, and time of day or the season. These memory gaps can increase the confusion and disorientation a patient experiences. He or she may also start experiencing hallucinations or delusions, which can lead to paranoia, suspicion, and aggressive behavior.
Severe (Late) Stage
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, patients experience not only a significant decline in mental function but also in physical capabilities. They are likely to need extensive full-time care and assistance in completing essential daily tasks such as eating, moving, dressing, and using the bathroom. People at this stage can also be more vulnerable to infections and pneumonia, and as they find it increasingly difficult to communicate, they may be unable to convey this to a caregiver.