My mother is confused all the time, what stage of Alzheimer's is she in?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 25, 2016
Chickpea asked...

trying to figure out the stages is very hard since the run into each other or skip some. can you inform me alittle on a stage for mom, she is confused 95% of the time, roams and wonders, thinks and talks and sees her dead family, forgets to go to the bathroom sometimes,dresses in whatever, tired but refuses to nap, headaches alot and very diff for her to walk, but that could be from other things as well,she is always in pain for her legs and back. she has had ad for several years now, but what stage i would like to guess at. sometimes she is worst then other times and it seems like you take a step up and then 3 steps down, doctor told us to just think of her as a new friend and enjoy the time left with her. she isn't on any meds, won't take anything. and she lives with us and we don't have anything legal in writing, she refuses even when she is half way sane, what should and can we do about that.


Expert Answers

Monica is an occupational therapist and designer of adapted dementia products through her company MindStart. Activities for Persons With Memory Loss. In addition, she works with the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association and the University of Minnesota on dementia issues. MindStart provides age-appropriate and stage-appropriate dementia activities, such as games, puzzles, and books. The items are simplified to meet the needs of various stages of dementia while remaining dignified and familiar in appearance

Level of confusion and Alzheimer's stages can be difficult to discern. As you said, characteristics of stages may overlap. Even so, it can be helpful to frame the person's current level of functioning into one of the stages. It can give you information about how the person might function, areas they may need help with, and possible areas of risk (such as incontinence, feeding difficulty)to be aware of. From the description you provided, it sound like your mother is likely Stage 6. One defining factor in Stage 6 is incontinence of the bladder, which is followe by bowel incontinence. See this link to see descriptions of the stages: www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp. Note that at the middle stages of dementia, the person is no longer able to make sound decisions for themself. You might consider consulting an elder law attorney to put documents into place allowing someone to be named as the person who can make decisions on her behalf. Good luck with these difficult times on the care journey.