The Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease – How to Use Information to Make Plans For Future Care Needs

The framework for the stages of Alzheimer’s disease is based on a system developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., Clinical Director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center. While these stages identify an individual’s progression through the disease process, it is important to note that every individual will exhibit the signs of Alzheimer’s disease differently. Each individual will experience the rate of progression through the stages differently, as well.

Some individuals may live as long as twenty years after they receive the initial diagnosis, while others have a more rapid progression and live three to six years after they are initially diagnosed.

The Alzheimer’s disease stages will give a family a very clear picture of what will be expected for the future care needs of the aging senior family member.

I think that it is very important that family caregivers have an opportunity to open the lines of communication. It is important to have ongoing communications about what the aging senior’s expectations are regarding their care as the disease progresses.

Being aware of the signs of Alzheimer’s, the disease progression and the expected behaviors and physical abilities or changes that may occur is important. This gives a family member and the aging senior the ability to understand what future care needs may be.

More on the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. How to use the information to make plans for future care needs

More importantly, the family care giver has the opportunity to take time and explore the different stages of the disease. I think that this is very important. More often than not, a family care giver makes a commitment to provide care for an aging senior family member, not understanding what that commitment entails.

Every individual has their limitations. Some individuals are able to provide care for someone that wanders, or is incontinent of bowel or bladder. Other family care givers would not feel comfortable providing care at such a personal level. Knowing your own limitations as a care giver, will help you and the senior family member to make plans for future care needs.

Future care needs can be planned once the aging senior family member and the family care giver understand what the expectations and wishes of the senior are, what the abilities and expectations of the family care giver are and what the financial and community resources available are in the area.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for the family care giver to get involved in local and online Alzheimer’s support groups. These support groups will assist you, the family caregiver with tips in providing care, giving you a place to vent and accept and understand what you are going through when you feel lost and alone. The support groups will be your lifeline when times get tough.

Being prepared for future care needs gives the family care giver the opportunity to start making changes to the home to help maintain independence as long as possible. It is also important to explore home health products such as fire prevention products to assure safety in the home, and community or other financial resources that may be available.

The stages of Alzheimer’s disease give a family caregiver the opportunity to put a plan in place for home safety, home care needs, investigate home care products to assure safety. It gives the family caregiver the opportunity to utilize the information to make plans for future care needs.

Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. Diane has developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. You will find extensive helpful information that will be continually updated. Please visit Diane’s web site and learn more about stages-of-Alzheimer’s. Sign up for “The Caring Advocate” her free newsletter and take advantage of a complimentary e-course Advocating For Yourself and Others


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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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