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The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 3 – “Symptoms Becoming Noticeable”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:11:17 PM
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In Stage 3 of the disease’s progression, the person’s difficulty in performing certain mental tasks becomes evident to family members and close associates. The individual may be unable to find the right word when speaking or recall something they just read. If he or she holds a job, co-workers or supervisors may notice an obvious decline in job performance, particularly if it involves complex planning or organizational skills. The individual may find it increasingly difficult to master new job skills, to comprehend technical data or follow detailed instructions.

This inability to concentrate can produce feelings of anxiety. In such cases, professional counselors may recommend taking retirement or withdrawing from demanding activities to ease the psychological stress. For the majority of people in Stage 3, obvious signs of dementia will appear within two-to-four years.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 4 – “Diagnosis: Alzheimer’s”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:10:59 PM
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At this stage, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made with considerable certainty. The individual exhibits increased difficulty with numbers, often apparent in their inability to manage finances (i.e., they frequently write the wrong date or wrong amount on checks or payment slips). They may have trouble remembering the day of the week or month of the year. They may forget details from their own past. As their personal frustration with these previously simple tasks increases, they become more reserved and less responsive to others.

Rather than acknowledge the pain of their decreased mental capacity, they attempt to deny it; to hide it – even from themselves – by withdrawing from conversations and social interaction. Studies show the duration of this stage has a median of approximately two years.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 5 – “Memory Gaps and Confusion”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:10:33 PM
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The severity of cognitive decline at this stage typically creates difficulties with basic activities of daily living and reduces the likelihood that the individual can safely live alone. Without help, the individual may be unable to identify or prepare proper foods. Their ability to recall vital information such as their age, address or the current year is sporadic. They may

wear the same clothes day after day – unable to choose apparel appropriate for current weather conditions. Because they are incapable of making reasoned choices, they can become vulnerable to strangers and scam artists.  Loved ones and close associates will notice a marked change in the individual’s behavior, with increasing instances of unprovoked anger and suspicion. The average duration of Stage 5 is one-and-a-half years depending on other non-related health conditions.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 6 – “Severe Mental and Physical Decline”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:10:01 PM
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Symptoms at this stage are severe enough to jeopardize the individual’s well-being. Early signs of Stage 6 include an inability to dress without assistance; i.e., dressing backwards or putting street clothes over night clothes. Hygiene and cleanliness become issues. The person may be unable to adjust the temperature of bathwater or brush their teeth. As the disease progresses, they become incontinent and require assistance with all aspects of toileting. Because of the severity of cognitive decline, they may display little or no knowledge of current circumstances, and may confuse loved ones with deceased relatives, or forget the names of their parents or spouse. They exhibit difficulty in speaking. Their fear and frustration can trigger emotional outbursts and aggressive behavior. Stage 6 lasts an average of twoand- a-half years depending on other nonrelated health conditions.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 7 – “Functional Failure and Death”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:08:29 PM
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In Stage 7, or what is often termed “late stage Alzheimer’s,” individuals require continuous assistance in order to survive. At this stage, speech is limited to a handful of intelligible words at most. The individual subsequently loses all ability to speak. This is soon followed by a decrease in their ability to walk. Eventually movement itself is limited and the person becomes unable to sit or even hold their head up without assistance. The diminished functioning also affects their ability to smile, with the only observable facial expression being a grimace. Victims of late-stage Alzheimer’s may live on in this tragic condition indefinitely, although because of other contributing factors such as pneumonia, aspiration, severe flu, infection, cancer, COPD, CHF, etc., this last stage rarely lasts more than two years.

Those who do live on are likely to exhibit increased rigidity as well as “primitive” or “infantile” reflexes such as sucking before finally passing away.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

Since I turned 70, I’ve noticed that I occasionally struggle to recall a familiar fact…

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:08:01 PM
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Since I turned 70, I’ve noticed that I occasionally struggle to recall a familiar fact or come up with the right word. Is this an early sign of Alzheimer’s?

Momentary memory lapses occur even in healthy people and are certainly not uncommon among older adults. The fact that your forgetfulness happens only occasionally and that you can recall these episodes after the fact are both encouraging. Typically a person with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia will experience these symptoms with increasing frequency and intensity, and often will not remember them. If you or others notice your forgetfulness occurring more often, becoming more severe, or if it affects the performance of daily activities, you would be wise to get a complete medical examination.

Many Alzheimer’s-like symptoms are actually the result of treatable disorders. And while, in some cases, these symptoms can be halted or even reversed, no treatment can be prescribed until there is an accurate diagnosis. By reviewing a patient’s medical history and conducting a series specialized tests, doctors today have about a 90% success rate in accurately diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

“Is there any consensus on what type of treatment is best for people suffering with Alzheimer’s?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:07:36 PM
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Because of the nature of Alzheimer’s disease, “treatment” is not really an applicable word. Making a determination as to what is “best” really comes down to a matter of individual care (what type of care keeps someone with the disease most content and comfortable). Our two decades of firsthand experience caring for people with Alzheimer’s have given us countless insights to help us answer this question.

The fact is, institutional care tends to confuse and overwhelm people with Alzheimer’s. They typically do better in a relaxed, residential setting. Our suburban homes have no more than six to eight Residents. Each Resident has the same bed, furnishings, mementos and – to whatever extent possible – the same lifestyle they had in their own home. Our method of care is designed to address both the social and physical needs of Residents individually. Increasingly, our Resident-centered approach is being validated by scientific studies, and affirmed by government agencies and medical authorities.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

“When is it time?” Signs that your loved one should no longer live alone.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:06:47 PM
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“My mother is forgetting to pay her bills and isn’t managing her finances anymore.”

We frequently hear similar concerns from loved ones of people with Alzheimer’s. While someone at this stage does not yet require long-term care, it may not be wise to leave them living alone. Because people with the disease find it increasingly difficult to deal with numbers, they lose the ability to properly manage their affairs. They often write the wrong date or amount on checks or payment slips, making themselves especially vulnerable to unscrupulous business practices, identity theft, and other crimes. As the disease progresses, they can no longer recall vital information such as their age, address or current year. In addition, they begin to neglect household chores, and stop caring for plants or even pets. Faucets may be left running or burners left on.

When a loved one can no longer manage their own affairs, it is best to bring in a caregiver or move them in with family members to ensure their continued safety and wellbeing.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

“When is it time?” When caregiving becomes overwhelming.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:05:42 PM
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As Alzheimer’s sufferers’ cognitive functioning decreases, their dependency on others increases. For caregivers dealing with the incessant questions, the growing anxiety and continuous confusion, the task of providing 24-hour care can be emotionally draining. In addition, the physical demands of helping someone in and out of a bed, chair or tub, or picking them up after a fall may be too great. And for people working full- or part-time while also trying to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, caregiving takes a financial toll as well. A majority of family caregivers report having to make major changes in their work schedules – going in late, leaving early, or taking unscheduled time off – to provide care.

Even the most compassionate family member soon realizes that such efforts are not only impractical but often counterproductive. Nearly 60% of caregivers rate their emotional stress as “high” or “very high,” and about 40% suffer from depression. Should you become incapacitated due to care for a loved one, they lose their most important resource… you, their advocate. When a loved one’s condition poses a threat to the wellbeing of caregivers, it’s time to consider long-term care.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

“When is it time?” When a loved one’s own health and safety are at risk.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:05:22 PM
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The progressive effects of Alzheimer’s disease make it increasingly unlikely that a loved one with the disease can safely live alone.

As their cognitive decline becomes more severe, they will find it ever more difficult to perform basic activities of daily living. They may be unable to identify or prepare proper foods, or to select clothing appropriate for the weather. They may get confused about their medications. Their loss of judgment can place them in dangerous situations or make them more vulnerable to crime. They can become disoriented in their surroundings, and be prone to wandering and getting lost. As the disease advances, their physical coordination diminishes and they face increased risk of injury. Hygiene and cleanliness can become issues, making them more subject to illness.

After more than two decades of dealing with families of Alzheimer’s sufferers, we know no one wants to turn their loved one over to the care of someone else. But when memory loss poses a threat to their physical safety and health, it’s time to consider placing them in long-term care.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

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Testimonials

We are extremely pleased with the care that my uncle has received at ComfortCare Homes. We feel that the small environment is easier for him to navigate, provides individualized care, and doesn’t have an “institutional” feel while providing all the services that the larger memory care facilities provide. During the past year, my uncle has had ups and downs. At one point he needed additional care and was moved to Founder’s Crest, but upon regaining his strength, was able to move back to his original ComfortCare Home. Everyone from the nursing staff, to the office staff, to the maintenance man was helpful during that time. I am so happy that we chose ComfortCare Homes!

- Marilyn Hugon

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