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Could It Be Alzheimer’s? Check Out These Red Flags to Find Out.

Could It Be Alzheimer’s? Although not a normal part of aging, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and more likely than not, your life has been – or will be – touched in some way by someone with the disease. Understanding the signs, symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s can equip those providing care with the ability to prepare and plan for what’s occurring now for their loved one, and for what lies ahead.

After decades of study and research, we understand there are specific stages that patients experience in their struggle with this devastating disease. Dr. Verna Benner Carson and Catherine Vanderhorst of C&V Senior Care have outlined these stages listed below with a timespan most likely predicted for the process:

FIRST STAGE:
(Spanning 2-4 years leading up to and including diagnosis; cognitive level 11 years old, declining to 5 years old)

  • Forgetfulness/short-term memory loss
  • Impairment in judgment/making bad decisions
  • Difficulty with familiar tasks such as cooking, balancing the checkbook, paying bills
  • Difficulty finding specific words
  • Lack of spontaneity
  • Lessening of initiative
  • Disorientation of time and place
  • Social withdrawal or depression
  • Mood/personality changes

SECOND STAGE:
(Spanning: 2-10 years after diagnosis, the longest stage; cognitive level 4 years old, declining to 2 years old)

  • Problems recognizing close friends or family
  • Problems organizing thoughts, thinking logically
  • Repetitive statements and/or movements
  • Increasing disorientation, forgetfulness
  • Can’t find right words; makes up stories to fill in blanks
  • Problems with reading, writing and numbers
  • May be suspicious, irritable, fidgety, teary or silly
  • Loss of impulse control
  • May have trouble dressing and may not want to bathe
  • May see or hear things that are not there
  • Restlessness, especially in late afternoon and at night
  • Wandering
  • Needs full-time supervision

THIRD (Final) STAGE:
(Spanning 1-3 years; cognitive level 18 months, declining to newborn)

  • Complete dependence
  • Loses the ability to communicate verbally
  • May put everything in mouth or touch everything
  • Can’t control bladder and bowel
  • Increasing need to sleep
  • May have difficulty swallowing
  • Loses the ability to walk and becomes bedridden

Understanding and preparing for the stages of Alzheimer’s with an open conversation involving supportive family and friends, including your loved one, when appropriate, opens the discussion for long-term support, life and care planning with improved quality of life for all involved.

You can rely on Nightingale Homecare as your expert support staff during your loved one’s diagnosis, care and progression. Our clients and families experience success in living with Alzheimer’s and dementia! Call us any time at 602-504-1555 or contact us online to learn how our specialized Alzheimer’s Whisperer® services, provided by our specially trained, compassionate and patient Phoenix home care team, can maximize your senior loved one’s health, wellbeing and comfort.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 at 11:00 am.