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Understanding Alzheimer's disease is challenging for those involved with someone experiencing this condition. The progression of the disease has been defined in different ways. Below are two of the more widely used resources to help you determine the stage at which your loved one may be.

SYMPTOMS & PROGRESSION OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
from
The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life (3rd Edition)
by Nancy L. Mace, Peter V. Rabins
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PHASE 1

 

INVOLVES THE TIME FRAME LEADING UP TO AND INCLUDING DIAGNOSIS
Usually lasts 2 - 4 years
Examples: confusion, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, inappropriate behavior

PHASE 2

THIS IS USUALLY THE LONGEST PHASE
Lasts 2 - 10 years after diagnosis
Examples: aimlessness, change in walk (begins to shuffle)

PHASE 3

 

LAST PHASE
Usually no more than 3 years
Examples: communication lost, bowel control lost, prolonged sleeping, difficulty swallowing, skin breakdowns

REISBERG'S GLOBAL DETERIORATION SCALE
STAGES OF DAT (DEMENTIA of the ALZHEIMER'S TYPE)
Framework is based on a system developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., Clinical Director of the New York University School of Medicine's Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.
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STAGE

LEVEL OF FUNCTIONING
CLINICAL DIAGNOSES
1
No Decrement
Normal Adult
2
Subjective deficit in word finding
Normal Aged Adult
3
Deficit in demanding employment settings
Compatible with incipient DAT
4
Assistance required with complex tasks (Handling finances)
Mild DAT
5
Assistance required in choosing clothing
Moderate DAT
 
6A
Assistance required in putting on clothing
Moderately severe DAT
6B
Assistance in bathing
 
6C

Assistance required with the mechanics of toileting

 
6D
Urinary incontinence
 
6E
Fecal incontinence
 
 
7A
Speech ability limited to approximately a half-dozen words
Severe DAT
7B
Vocabulary limited to a single word
 
7C
Ambulation lost
 
7D
Ability to sit up lost
 
7E
Ability to smile lost
 
7F
Consciousness lost
 

More information on Reisberg's Scale can be found at
http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp

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