How Long can Someone Live with Alzheimer's?

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Q: How long does Alzheimer's disease last on average?

A: The sporadic form of Alzheimer's disease on average, given the state of good supportive care, can last from 5 to 20 years. The average, calculated by the Alzheimer's Association, is around 8 to 12 years. There are progressions, or stages, of the disease.

In general, there is a phase in which learning and memory performance is mildly compromised. This stage can last as short as few months or as long as a few years. This phase transitions into the next, consisting of severe fading of learning and memory capability that develops over the course of a few years.

Finally, the patient with a fully developed clinical picture of the disease falls into a final state in which the sense of self is lost. The familiar, although rare, early onset form of the disease rapidly progresses and rarely the patient survives eight years from the diagnosis.

Dr. Maurizio Grimaldi

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Grimaldi is the Leader of the Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience Laboratory at Southern Research Institute in Alabama and specialized in clinical pharmacology. He is a co-investigator in the NIH-NINDS Drug Screening for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke.

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21 Comments

i have just been dianosed with alzhiemers and i feel like crying, but i know ihaved to take one day at a time. my mother had it she lived about seven yrs. i,m a little forgetfull but not real bad yet.
I started taking care of my husband's step-father about one year ago. He is somewhere in stage 6. When we first moved here he was very paraniod and we had to watch him because if he got upset at all he would leave and walk. Now he has a hard time with any little task. He is incontinent, he can't dress himself, he can't express himself, can't reason, can't understand anything going on around him. He is on anti-anxiety meds for his paranoia and also anti-psychotic medication because of his angry outbursts and fits. Somedays it is like caring for a two year old, except that he's six foot three so if he feels inclined he can whip my butt. It is hard to watch his deterioration; he is such a nice man. Sometimes he still gets his humor to shine through. The other day I told him I was going to take a shower and to stay sitting next to Grandma. He asked if he could come help. I was shocked. I could tell that he was entirely joking; but today he couldn't remember who I was. He just knew that I was some stranger trying to get him to take pills. Some days are hard, but we have to remember them as they were. It is hard for me because I didn't know him before I started caring for him, but some days I can see the man he was shine through.
hi all...it's quite a journey isn't it? The person with Alzheimers has so much courage to face such a brutal disease. My husband is sixty-nine and in the last stage of Alzheimers with more aggression. I find rubbing his back when he's agitated helps but he sometimes tries to strike out at me. I have to tie his bedroom door closed at night or he wanders and I may not hear him. Routine is good and helpful as is quiet. He likes having one of our cats on his lap to help relax him . I've already pretty much grieved that he is gone but hard for our eighteen year old son. I take one day at a time and perhaps sad to say, but I have to find some humor in all of this, not in a mean way but more in a sanity way. Trying to stay positive is key. I take care of my ninety-five year old mom, twenty two horses have a full time day job and a stable and fortunately have a fairly good support system. I think it's time now to look into some antiagression medications. I've heard that prasozin (used for blood pressure) can help and some anti-seizure medicines. Has anyone had any experience with anti-agression medications? Thank you for reading. Sometimes I feel quite alone but we all have to stay positive right?