There are three main stages of Alzheimer’s disease. But, there are several stages within the early, middle, and late stages. Some medical practices focus on five, but many others, including Penn Medicine, feel there are seven. Take a closer look at these seven stages of Alzheimer’s to learn how each one will affect your dad’s personal care routines. Knowing them in advance helps when it comes to arranging personal care at home services.
In the early stages, your dad’s need for help with personal care will not be present yet.
- First Stage – Alzheimer’s is present, but it’s not noticeable yet. Changes are happening, but it’s going to take some time to realize that there’s something wrong. It will progress from here.
- Second Stage – This is where basic forgetfulness comes into play. Your dad will start forgetting he’s told you something. He may lose his keys and not be able to retrace his steps.
- Third Stage – Memory loss and forgetfulness are impossible to ignore at this point. Your dad calls you and tells you that you haven’t talked to him in months. It was just ten minutes ago that you hung up the phone. He’s forgetting to pay bills, he’s spending more than he has, and he may make appointments, but he doesn’t remember he’s made them.
As you move into the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease, your dad’s need for help with certain tasks is obvious. He’s going to need cues to make sure he’s using the toilet when he needs to.
- Fourth Stage – Cognitive function is declining. Your dad forgets where he lives. He goes out for walks and can’t remember what his house looks like. He doesn’t know what month it is, and he may start to dress inappropriately for the weather. He tries to bathe as he always has, but he’s starting to use the wrong products, such as body wash for moisturizer or mouthwash for aftershave.
- Fifth Stage – Emotional and mental changes start to take place. Your dad may start worrying that people are stealing from him. He may accuse you. He’s hiding items from others. He withdraws and doesn’t want to leave his bed or home.
In the final two stages, your dad is dependent on others for most of his daily routines.
- Sixth Stage – He cannot bathe alone. He forgets to use the toilet and has many accidents. He’s not feeding himself anymore, and his fine motor skills are diminishing, so he has to have others trim his nails or brush his teeth. He stops talking more than babbling or randomly blurted words.
- Seventh Stage – The seventh and final stage often finds your dad confined to bed or a wheelchair. He needs sponge baths and spoon-feeding if he’ll eat at all.
Personal care at home is one of the best ways to ensure your dad’s grooming and hygiene routines are kept up. Caregivers can help him properly clean himself in the shower. They can help him shave and brush and floss his teeth. Talk to an expert in personal care at home about your dad’s Alzheimer’s progression to determine what help he needs.