Is there any way to find out a prognosis for someone with Alzheimer's? It would be helpful for planning finances, living arrangements, etc. Our Neurologist seems to be reluctant or unable to give us much information. He just says "it's not good." I realize that every case is unique and somewhat different.

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Yes I agree with jeannegibbs. I'm into my 19th year and mom has very very little functionality. It's better to be dead six feet under than see her endure lingering Alz with no usefulness and just wasting away... My 19 years of caregiving is not just wasting her time, it's more so wasting mine. I should have been back to my city hall job this January 2012 after being unemployed for more than 17 months! But here I am being forced to remain at home working online. If she has passed away many years ago, I can work both at the city hall and work online, then I would have added to my own nest egg and also cash for my daughter's education & all that stuff. 19 years folks.. I just want an end to this long long sad drama. My mom is so malnourished already and just so confused and can't hardly walk without the walking gadgets to assist her. Sad long useless life.... not cool to imagine one day we will be like this. Better enjoy life usefully and with purpose and then when it's time to go, it's time to go. No need to make the caregiver or family or relatives or deplete the nest egg to zero levels with a life that's just spent on days fussing about incontinence, bad hearing, vertigo, sleepiness up to the point that my mom drops her spoon, fork, cups and plates and her entire plate of food all there on the floor! Not nice to imagine.... And I'm a single solo parent, only child with one daughter to take care. I even postpone for a long long time my search for a good husband. It's simply hard to combine dating & caregiving. I take comfort I'm not alone. Alzheimer's go away please!!!!
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Alzheimer's is a progressive dementia, which means it gets worse over time. It follows a generally recognizable pattern, and "stages" have been identified for the progression, although individual experience may not match the typical patterns. In addition it is possible for an individual to have more than one kind of dementia and that will change what can be expected. (Most kinds of dementia can only be confirmed with brain autopsy.)

Even if the person has "only" Alzheimer's and is following the identified stages closely, there is no way to predict how long each stage will last.

My experience is with a different kind of dementia, LBD, and the literature says the typical life expectancy with the disease is 5 to 7 years. In the caregiver's support group I attend, one loved one died in less than 2 years. Another one is in year 12 with very little functionality. My husband is in his 9th year, still at home, and surprisingly functional. I suspect that Alzheimer's is similar in that individual experiences are all over the map.

Your Neurologist really is not able to give you information that would be helpful for planning purposes. You'll know what happens next when it happens. I know this uncertainty is extremely stressful to live with. Welcome to the world of caregiving.

You will recognize as further losses occur, and adjust and adapt to the new situation. FLexibility is a huge asset in dealing with dementia.
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