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Understanding the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

By Carolina Orosa, 8:00 am on

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is difficult for anyone to accept. Perhaps even more difficult is the realization that Alzheimer’s, like most forms of dementia, is a progressive disease. It will not improve, and it will not stay the same. A senior loved one with Alzheimer’s will, over time, become less and less able to understand, remember and communicate.

If your aging parent or loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand the progression of the disease in order to ensure the highest level of care and comfort as they enter each new stage. Most Alzheimer’s patients will go through three stages – early, middle, and late – as the disease progresses. The stages may overlap, symptoms may appear at different times, or one symptom such as memory loss may be obvious at one point, but may seem to improve for a short time. A patient’s physical condition as well as medications and other factors account for these differences.

As a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care in Vancouver, we wanted to provide families with a short explanation of each stage of the disease so they will know what to expect as they provide care:

  • Early Stage Alzheimer’s. For most people with this illness, the early stages are minor: “He keeps repeating himself” or “she forgets the names of her children and grandchildren.” Memory loss is the most common symptom of the disease in its early stages. At this point, the best thing you can do for your loved one with Alzheimer’s is to help keep them remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible. Provide assistance when needed, but try to let them do as much as they can for themselves. This can help them maintain feelings of self-esteem and independence.
  • Middle Stage Alzheimer’s. The middle stage is marked by deepening confusion, greater forgetfulness, and an ever-growing need for help to manage such tasks as bathing, dressing, eating, or using the toilet. Patients may become confused about where they are, even in familiar surroundings, or what is the time of day.
  • Late Stage Alzheimer’s. In this stage, the patient will likely become completely dependent on their caregiver, may not recognize most family members or friends, and may find it difficult to walk or talk. If you are unable to be with your loved one on an around the clock basis, you should consider the help of a 24 hour Vancouver caregiver who can ensure continuity of care and safety at all times.

Providing Alzheimer’s care for an aging parent or loved one can impact a family caregiver both physically and emotionally. It’s important that family caregivers know that they are not alone during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for advice and assistance, and be sure to look into caregiving support groups. Along with Alzheimer’s support groups in your local community, there are also online caregiver forums where you can exchange stories and caregiving advice with those in similar situations.

For more information about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Vancouver today. While we specialize in live-in care, we also offer flexible hourly care in Vancouver, ideal for family caregivers who need a break from their responsibilities or need assistance with their loved one’s care as he or she progresses through each stage of Alzheimer’s. Call us at 778-279-3634 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable Case Manager and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.