The 5 Stages of Alzheimer’s and the Levels of Care Required
The 5 Stages of Alzheimer's and the Levels of Care Required
Deciding on a course of care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be tough. The condition affects people in various ways, and progresses differently too.
As such, it’s important to know what to expect at each stage to be able to plan effectively.
To help you, we’ve gathered information on the five stages of Alzheimer’s and the level of care needed in each.
As we go over them, you’ll learn:
- The symptoms that characterise each Alzheimer’s stage
- The drug-free interventions that can slow Alzheimer’s
- Why not all monitoring devices are effective for Alzheimer’s support
Stage 1 - Preclinical Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease starts years before symptoms appear. This is called the preclinical stage, where individuals appear mentally healthy despite the onset of the condition.
At this point, detection is only possible via imaging technologies, which detect protein deposits called amyloid-beta ‘plaques’ in the brain; a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
As such, it’s especially important to have your loved ones tested early, before the age of 65. This allows for timely intervention with amyloid-lowering drugs that slow Alzheimer’s progression.
Testing will also help you determine if your loved one is genetically at risk of Alzheimer’s and give you ample time to prepare. You might need to draft attorney power instruments, prepare long-term health directives, and update important documents, so extra time is very useful!
Caring for Preclinical Alzheimer’s
If there is no amyloid protein development at this point, the level of care required is primary prevention.
This involves encouraging your loved ones to engage in activities associated with lowering their risk of developing dementia, such as:
- Staying physically active
- Staying connected to a network of family and friends
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Cognitive exercise games
Stage 2 - Mild Cognitive Impairment Due to Alzheimer’s
At this stage of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may start to develop slight, noticeable changes in memory and thinking.
In most cases, these cognitive changes are minor and not enough to affect work or relationships. They can pass for general age-related conditions such as forgetfulness.
Forgetting where keys have been placed or not being able to remember familiar names can be a sign, but they don’t necessarily signify an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
You’ll need a professional review of the symptoms aided by brain imaging technologies to determine if the cognitive changes are indeed caused by Alzheimer’s.
Caring for Mild Cognitive Impairment Due to Alzheimer’s
Mild cognitive impairment care involves primary interventions, including:
- Regular physical exercise: A recent study found that moderate-intensity physical training programs, such as walking, slow cognitive decline
- Maintaining a low-fat, high-fruit and vegetable diet
- Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids
- Intellectual stimulation through games and books
- Social engagement: Between 35% to 85% of people experiencing cognitive impairment also have depression and anxiety and need a support system or friends and family
Stage 3 - Mild Dementia Due to Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s is often clinically diagnosed during the mild dementia stage, when it’s clear to doctors and family that an individual has a serious problem with thinking and memory that affects their daily function.
At this stage, your loved one may experience:
- Problem-solving difficulties: It becomes difficult to perform complex tasks, like balancing a chequebook, making a financial plan, or planning a family event.
- Memory loss of recent events: Your loved one may experience difficulty remembering newly acquired information and keep repeating questions.
- Getting lost and misplacing items: Even in familiar settings, they have difficulty recognizing their whereabouts and often misplace items, including valuables.
- Personality changes: Individuals will withdraw from society or exhibit uncharacteristic emotions, such as irritability or anger.
Caring for Mild Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s
Individuals at this stage need speciality care but still remain largely independent. They stay engaged with their communities and hobbies and can even maintain a profession.
As such, care provision for these individuals focuses on their capabilities rather than taking over their day-to-day life.
For instance, their caregiver will help them develop a routine around their social and professional life. This routine may include prompts to take medications and reminders for important information and tasks they often forget.
Stage 4 - Moderate Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s
Moderate dementia patients are more confused and forgetful and need more help with their daily activities and self-care. For instance, they may wear the same clothing day after day unless reminded to change.
This stage lasts 1.5 years with the following symptoms:
- Greater memory loss and cognitive decline: Your loved one may forget historic information, such as their phone number and physical address, and may make up stories about the past to fill gaps in memory.
- Deepening confusion and poor judgement: Individuals at this stage lose their sense of time and place and begin to wander in search of familiar surroundings. This makes it crucial to have an action plan in place to avoid confusion and panic and speed up tracking. For instance, a plan including local authorities, tracking devices, and notes on the individual’s favourite places can be very helpful for finding a loved one that has wandered off.
- Inability to perform daily tasks: Individuals at this stage will need help with personal activities such as grooming, proper dressing, and using the bathroom. Some lose control of their bowel movements and bladder.
- Delusional thoughts: Individuals may develop unfounded suspicion that friends or family are plotting against them or stealing.
Caring for Moderate Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s
Individuals in this stage of moderate dementia require long-term care. This involves greater responsibility for daily routines and safety.
For instance, more than 60% of dementia patients wander with consequences ranging from high search and rescue costs to serious injury or death.
As such, the carer must go beyond keeping track of medication and provide meaningful activities and routines to prevent wandering. Essentially, the carer takes over the individual’s responsibility for daily life.
Care provision at this stage also involves constant monitoring through mobile devices, such as trackers. However, your loved one must feel comfortable for monitoring devices to work.
For instance, check out this discrete, multicolour tracker by TechSilver that comfortably blends in with any outfit. Unlike average brands, TechSilver ensures its devices look natural to remove the stigma surrounding monitoring devices and encourage acceptance.
Notice how its design does not scream “monitoring device.” Instead, it has a stylish pendant look that fits with any outfit.
Your loved one will barely notice this tracker when worn as a necklace or keyring while you and your family check up on them via a free cross-platform application that’s more effective than a website.
Normal tracking devices require use of the company’s website for tracking, which is slower and more limiting than an app.
Stage 5 - Severe Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s
In this late stage of Alzheimer’s, an individual’s mental function continues to decline, eventually impacting movement and physical capabilities.
With this decrease in physical activity, 40% of people progressively develop contractures. These are irreversible deformities that limit joint movement.
As a result, severe dementia patients will require assistance with personal care activities and moving about.
Caring for Severe Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s
Severe dementia requires hospice care, which involves easing symptoms and preventing risks.
For instance, as contractures continue to develop, one of the most frequent causes of injury and death is delayed response to a fall because the accident went undetected.
This makes fall detectors important caring tools. This fall alarm for the elderly by TechSilver can detect hard falls with ease.
With an easy to wear fall detecting bracelet and a manual SOS option, you can have greater peace of mind in knowing your loved one is able to get help in the event of an unexpected fall.
The following table summarises the five stages of Alzheimer’s and the level of care required at each stage.
|Stage||Level Of Care|
|Mild cognitive impairment||Primary care|
|Mild dementia||Specialty care|
|Moderate dementia||Long-term care|
|Severe dementia||Hospice care|
Reliable Care That’s Always Available
At TechSilver, we’re great believers in “Later life matters,” and realise the importance of your elderly loved ones living independently and at home for as long as possible.
This is why our range of care devices comes with fast customer service support so you can rest easy knowing your loved ones are safe, and that their care devices are in working order.
We’re available through live chat, email, and telephone, seven days a week, where an actual person will directly respond to any issue you’re having within an hour.
It’s also worth noting that none of our devices require a set-up fee. All we charge is a small monthly subscription fee that covers mobile data charges, calling fees, and access to the operating software.
Visit us today to learn more about how our devices will help your loved ones stay independent.
“Bought the GPS ring for my mother. The customer service was great. An actual person on the end of the phone!”
— Karen T
Hi, I'm Miles
I’m the founder of TechSilver, the world’s leading assistive tech specialists. My team has made these resources to help people care for their loved ones, so we hope we can help you today!
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