What is the typical length of Alzheimer's stages?

Cheryl asked...

My Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Dementia about 18 mnths ago. From what i can ascertain he is in the second to last stage of the disease. Could you please give me any indication of how long do Alzheimer's stages last? He is starting to exhibit some early signs of the last stage at the moment...

Expert Answer

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

There's a saying about Alzheimer's: If you've seen one case of it, you've seen...one case of it. The disease manifests in different ways and progresses at a different pace in each individual. So there's no rule of thumb for how long each Alzheimer's stage lasts. Some people decline rapidly, within months. Some level off at a particular stage for years.

Although people live an average of eight to 10 years after diagnosis, some succumb within a few years while others can live as long as 20 years.