Stages of Alzheimer’s disease

If you or a loved one is dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, your doctor may have provided information on stages in the diagnosis. These stages can provide general guidelines for understanding the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms and planning appropriate care.


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However, it is important to remember that each individual with Alzheimer’s progresses differently. Cognitive, physical, and functional phases often overlap, the time in each stage varies widely from patient to patient, and not everyone experiences all Alzheimer’s symptoms. Your doctor or local support groups can often provide firsthand information about the different Alzheimer’s stages and tips on handling them. 

The three stage Alzheimer’s disease model

3 Stages of Alzheimer’s disease






Frequent recent memory loss, particularly of recent conversations and events. Repeated questions, some problems expressing and understanding language. Mild coordination problems: writing and using objects becomes difficult. Depression and apathy can occur, accompanied by mood swings. Need reminders for daily activities, and may have difficulty driving.


2-10 yrs

Can no longer cover up problems. Pervasive and persistent memory loss, including forgetfulness about personal history and inability to recognize friends and family. Rambling speech, unusual reasoning, and confusion about current events, time, and place. More likely to become lost in familiar settings, experience sleep disturbances, and changes in mood and behavior, which can be aggravated by stress and change. May experience delusions, aggression, and uninhibited behavior. Mobility and coordination is affected by slowness, rigidity, and tremors. Need structure, reminders, and assistance with the activities of daily living.


1-3+ yrs

Confused about past and present. Loss of ability to remember, communicate, or process information. Generally incapacitated with severe to total loss of verbal skills. Unable to care for self. Falls possible and immobility likely. Problems with swallowing, incontinence, and illness. Extreme problems with mood, behavior, hallucinations, and delirium. In this stage, the person will need round the clock intensive support and care.

In addition to the three stages of Alzheimer’s, your doctor may also use a diagnostic framework with five, six, or seven levels. Progression through these stages usually lasts from 8 to 10 years, but can sometimes stretch out as long as 20 years. For information on this three stage model and the seven stage Global Deterioration Scale, also known as the Reisberg Scale please refer to

In our following publication we will address "Coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis"

For more information please contact the St. Maarten Alzheimer’s Foundation on HOTLINE 9220 or al**********@gm***.com.To support the campaign please contact any member of the Rotary Club or the St. Maarten Alzheimer’s Foundation.