Alzheimer's stages—common behaviors as the disease progresses.
Alzheimer's disease tends to develops slowly and gradually worsens over several years. Eventually, Alzheimer's disease affects most areas of your brain. Memory, thinking, judgment, language, problem-solving, personality, and movement can all be affected by the disease. The last four blogs discussed the first stages of Alzheimer's Disease: Preclinical Alzheimer's disease and Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Mild Dementia and Moderate Dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.
Stage 5: Severe dementia due to Alzheimer's disease
In the severe (late) stage of Alzheimer's disease, mental function continues to decline, and the disease has a growing impact on movement and physical capabilities.
In severe Alzheimer's disease, people generally:
- Lose the ability to communicate coherently. An individual can no longer converse or speak coherently, although he or she may occasionally say words or phrases.
- Require daily assistance with personal care. This includes total assistance with eating, dressing, using the bathroom, and all other daily self-care tasks.
- Experience a decline in physical abilities. A person may become unable to walk without assistance, then unable to sit or hold up his or her head without support. Muscles may become rigid and reflexes abnormal. Eventually, a person loses the ability to swallow and to control bladder and bowel functions.
Rate of progression through Alzheimer's disease stages
The rate of progression for Alzheimer's disease varies widely. On average, people with Alzheimer's disease live eight to 10 years after diagnosis, but some survive 20 years or more.
Pneumonia is a common cause of death because impaired swallowing allows food or beverages to enter the lungs, where an infection can begin. Other common causes of death include dehydration, malnutrition, and other infections.