mother holding adult daughter's handJune is Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible form of dementia that slowly degenerates memory and thinking skills, worsening over time. This disease is very common, affecting with more than 6 million people in the United States.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease usually appear when a person reaches their mid-60s, although it’s possible to experience early-onset symptoms in your 30s or 40s.

Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease? Here’s what you should know about the different stages of this disease.


During the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, patients can often still function independently and perform common daily activities. However, at this stage you begin to forget familiar words, names or locations. Your close family and friends usually begin to notice changes in your speech and overall mood.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, common difficulties at this initial stage include:

  • Forming a coherent sentence, forgetting a word or two
  • Remembering names when introduced to new people
  • Performing tasks in social or work settings
  • Forgetting material that was just read
  • Losing or misplacing common objects
  • Increased trouble with planning or organizing


Symptoms at the middle-stage are more moderate and can last for many years. It can become increasingly frustrating to forget simple things during this longest stage of disease. During this stage, your personality will start to change more drastically and you may have poor judgment when making decisions.

Although you should still be able to participate in certain activities and perform a few activities of daily living (ADLs) on your own, skilled care will soon become necessary to ensure you are always in a safe environment.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, common difficulties at this stage include:

  • Forgetting well-known events or your own personal history
  • Feeling moody or withdrawn, especially in social situations
  • Being unable to recall information about yourself, such as your address, telephone number and high school or college attended
  • Confusion about where you are or what day it is
  • Requiring help to choose proper clothing for the season or occasion
  • Trouble controlling your bladder and bowels
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping during the day and restlessness at night
  • An increased tendency to wander and become lost
  • Demonstrating personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions or compulsive, repetitive behavior like handwringing or tissue shredding


This is the most severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease. At this point, round-the-clock professional care is required as symptoms worsen. Communication becomes very difficult and you may also experience a decline in physical abilities. You will likely need help with tasks such as dressing, eating or using the bathroom.

Skilled nursing care becomes essential during this difficult time. At the end-stage, hospice care may become the best option to ease suffering. Palliative care is an available service at Avon Health Center that can give families peace of mind as they say goodbye to a loved one.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, common difficulties at this stage include:

  • Requiring constant assistance with daily personal care
  • Loss of awareness regarding recent experiences and surroundings
  • Changes in physical abilities, including walking, sitting and swallowing
  • Having difficulty communicating
  • Becoming more vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia

For more information on Alzheimer’s or hospice care, contact Avon Health Center today.