Signs of the Disease

Signs of the Disease

What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America follows the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging in describing the disease in three stages early (mild), middle (moderate) and late (severe).

EARLY (Mild)

In this stage people may:

  • Forget words or misplace objects
  • Forget something they just read
  • Ask the same question over and over
  • Have increasing trouble making plans or organizing
  • Not remember names when meeting new people

MIDDLE (Moderate)

In this stage, people may have:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion
  • Problems recognizing family and friends
  • Continuously repeating stories, favorite wants (e.g., foods, places, songs, etc.), or motions
  • Decreased ability to perform complex tasks (e.g., planning dinner) or handle personal finances (e.g., paying bills)
  • Lack of concern for hygiene and appearance
  • Requiring assistance in choosing proper clothing to wear for day, season, or occasion

LATE (Severe)

In this stage, there is almost total memory loss. The individual may:

  • Recognize faces but forget names
  • Mistake a person for someone else
  • Delusions—such as thinking he/she needs to go to work — may set in, even though he/she no longer has a job
  • There is a strong need for holding something close for tactile stimulation, nurturing, companionship and comfort
  • Basic abilities such as eating, walking, and sitting up fade during this period; the individual may no longer recognize when he is thirsty or hungry and will need help with all basic activities of daily living.