Pensive senior lady in wheelchair outside

The stages of Alzheimer’s

The National Institute on Aging shared that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older adults. People with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty thinking, remembering, and reasoning. Eventually, they may be unable to carry out simple daily tasks. There are different stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The stages include:

  • Mild Alzheimer’s disease. People in this stage often have problems that can include wandering and getting lost, difficulty handling money and paying bills, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, and personality and behavior changes.
  • Moderate Alzheimer’s disease. In this stage, memory loss and confusion get worse, and people begin to have problems recognizing loved ones, learning new things, and completing multistep tasks such as getting dressed. People at this stage may also experience hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
  • Severe Alzheimer’s disease. People in this stage of Alzheimer’s can no longer communicate and completely dependent on others for their care. During this stage, the person is near the end of life and may be bedridden.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear later in life. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for help with basic activities of daily living.

The causes of dementia can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Other dementias include Lewy body dementiafrontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. It is common for people to have mixed dementia — a combination of two or more types of dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.


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