Alzheimer's Disease Stages

Guide to the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
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The Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Most doctors identify three main stages of Alzheimer's disease -- mild, moderate, and severe. Because each stage of dementia can last for several years or more, it can also be helpful to understand whether your loved one seems to be in the early, middle, or late part of each stage. Changes in memory and other thinking skills are the most reliable way to track someone's progression through dementia, but other symptoms also help to indicate the stage.

Gain additional insight into your loved one's stage of dementia, along with expert guidance and community support, with Caring.com's Steps & Stages, a free customizable resource for family caregivers.

Mild-Stage Alzheimer's Disease

Early: You'll likely first notice an occasional repetition of stories, ideas, and questions -- or notice that appointments and errands go forgotten.

Mid: Deteriorating immediate memory loss causes word-for-word repetition of comments and questions to become more noticeable and more frequent, though it may not happen every day.

Late: The same stories are now repeated word for word at least several times a day; it's noticeable by strangers as well as family but doesn't yet happen continually.

Moderate-Stage Alzheimer's Disease

Early: Stories and questions are repeated on very short loops, within minutes, continuously throughout the day.

Mid: As recent memory erodes, your loved one will begin asking questions like, "Where are we?" or "Why are we here?" or "What am I supposed to be doing?"

Late: Your loved one now views distant memories as recent (such as a deceased parent being referred to as alive) and sometimes can't accurately identify friends and some family members.

Severe-Stage Alzheimer's Disease

Early: Even distant memories are harder to recall and are no longer mentioned; your loved one may not recognize close family or know names.

Mid: Your loved one may not recognize even a primary caregiver and may talk little or use nonsense speech or singsong.

Late: Your loved one is unlikely to speak more than a few words a day, can no longer sit up, and seems to stare right through you.

Early Mild-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Mid Mild-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Late Mild-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Early Moderate-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Mid Moderate-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Late Moderate-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Early Severe-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Mid Severe-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Late Severe-Stage Dementia Symptoms

Get detailed information about each symptom of Alzheimer's disease.