Alzheimer’s Disease: Stages of Progression
Excerpted from Duke Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association Family Support Network Newsletter of January, 1982.
First Stage: Behavior
- Subtle, not identified as a disease
- Family denies or excuses behavior
- Forgetfulness/memory impairment
- Increasing inability to handle routine tasks
- Lack of spontaneity
- Lessening of initiative
- Disorientation of time and places
- Depression and terror
Second Stage: An event occurs that forces family to acknowledge existence of problem and seek medical help.
- Wandering and repetition in speech
- Increasing disorientation
- Increasing forgetfulness
- Agitation and restlessness, especially at night
- Developing inability to attach meaning to sensory perceptions
- Inability to think abstractly
- Muscle twitching may develop
- Convulsive seizures may develop
- Repetitive actions
Third Stage: May last for years or months. Patient needs total personal care. Patient may no longer be able to speak.
- Total disorientation
- Complete dependence
- Developing inability to recognize self in a mirror or other people
- Speech impairment or muteness
- Develop a need to put everything in their mouths
- Develop a necessity to touch everything in sight
- Becoming emaciated
- Complete loss of control of all body functions
When it is time for hospice care, contact Covenant Hospice at
or online at www.covenanthospice.org.