Experts have developed a seven-stage framework to describe how a person’s abilities change from normal function through advanced Alzheimer’s:
- Stage 1: No impairment
The person does not experience any memory problems.
- Stage 2: Very mild decline
The person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses but no symptoms can be detected during a medical examination.
- Stage 3: Mild decline
Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice difficulties. During a detailed medical interview, doctors may be able to detect problems in memory or concentration.
- Stage 4: Moderate decline (mild or early stage Alzheimer’s)
At this point, a careful medical interview should be able to detect clear-cut problems in several areas.
- Stage 5: Moderately severe decline (moderate or mid-stage Alzheimer’s)
Gaps in memory and thinking are noticeable, and individuals begin to need help with day-to-day activities.
- Stage 6: Severe decline (moderately severe or mid-stage Alzheimer’s)
Memory continues to worsen, personality changes may take place and individuals need extensive help with daily activities.
- Stage 7: Very severe decline (severe or late stage Alzheimer’s)
In the final stage of this disease, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement.
It is important to keep in mind that stages are general guides and symptoms vary greatly. For more detail about these stages and the symptoms that may be associated with each stage, visit www.alz.org or call 1.800.272.3900.