Some experts categorize Alzheimer’s symptoms into three stages. Dr. Barry Reisberg created the Global Deterioration Scale, which goes into more detail with symptoms and deterioration. His scale has seven stages. When you’re trying to decide if it’s time for caregivers, this scale is helpful.
The Pre-Dementia Stages
The first three stages are the early stages. In these stages, the symptoms are minimal. Caregivers may not be necessary yet. In the first and second stages, the changes are barely noticeable. It’s not until stage three that you’ll see things that are concerning.
In stage three, Alzheimer’s patients often have a hard time remembering the name of a newer friend or neighbor. Organizing and planning skills start to slip. Some loss of remembering the right word is also possible. Finally, items may get misplaced.
Caregivers may become useful for scheduling appointments and keeping the home organized. Reminders on appointment days are also helpful. You may find these tasks are easy for a family carer to manage.
The remaining four stages become more severe. Caregivers need to start making more appearances. A weekly visit may be enough at first, but daily care will be necessary starting in stage four.
Stage four is marked by an inability to keep up with financial matters. People won’t remember much about their more recent activities and life. Counting cash is also challenging.
Move to stage five, and the person starts to struggle getting dressed appropriately. They are unlikely to remember their phone number or address. Wandering may start. Caregivers need to be around to help choose the right clothing for the weather. Someone needs to help cook meals.
Stage six is where you should consider not leaving your parent alone. By stage six, people with Alzheimer’s often fail to recognize family members. Most wander if preventative measures like door alarms are not taken. Toileting and bathing skills start to slip away. Agitation and behavioral problems also happen.
Finally, stage seven is the final stage. People struggle to speak fluently and stick to phrases or strings of words that don’t make sense. Eventually, the ability to swallow goes away. Caregivers are needed for everything from personal care and grooming to feeding.
Eventually, around-the-clock care and supervision may become necessary. Family caregivers may consider doing everyone on their own. It’s not ideal as the stress of caregiving and the emotional toll of watching a parent slip away is hard. Respite care is the best way to take breaks.
Respite care is a service that caregivers offer. They come in and take over the things you need to do so that you can take a break. Learn more by calling our home care agency.