How do you know what stage of Alzheimer's your parent has?

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Short term memory is all but gone. Cries in sleep and talks in sleep, Cannot follow story line on tv programs even her favorite soap operas. no longer cooks. Remembers things and says she has been to places that have never happened. cannot remember what she ate 5 min after eating.

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It's difficult to say. My father started having visual & auditory hallucinations, panic attacks, depression, complete short term memory loss, & severe balance issues, in Jan, 2014. He is in a VA home now and his personality is very different. He can no longer walk & he always wants to sleep. My mother's short term memory, and balance gradually declined from 2006 until she passed away Feb 2015. She declined rapidly once her long term memory was affected. She never hallucinated, but her ability to swallow declined gradually starting in 2012. I was told in 2014 that she could live 6-7 years more. When broke her hip end of 2014 & passed away in 2015 at age 88 when she could no longer swallow anything. The VA staff tell me that my 91 year old father could live another 6-7 years. We don't know enough about the disease to predict anything accurately, reduced activity increases,the risk of infections, such as pneumonia. Decreased balance increases the risk for falls and head trauma. I found comfort in studying the disease, so I research and study it as much as I can.
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UncleDave, I do.
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IMCO blame Respiradal/Zoxadon. Not Alzheimer's
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All I know was that my dad 's dementia were in the early stages and he could help himself in AL, walked unassisted anywhere, talked 'normal most of the time, but as soon as he was put on Respiradal/Zoxadon, he digressed so fast in a very short space of time to a point where he recognises only me and my sister, sings all the oldies, remembers every word of all the songs, but cannot remember what he ate 2min ago, and often calls for his mother who died some 50yrs ago, answers when you speak to him, but cannot hold a conversation and is no longer mobile. He went from being active, to complete dependency in less than 12months. So did his vocabulary. His early stage were intermittent. One minute he'd have a normal conversation, but left by himself, he would lose it and immediately call for his mom, or talk nonsense, if I can say that, we would then gently bring him around. He still does it, and just today after continuous calling for his mom, I told my sister to remind him of the sport he loved so much.
It helps.
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Flexible is the key word. My concern with stages is a fear people see the stages as set in stone.

It has been told to me that if you seen one person with Alzheimer's you have seen one. No two are alike.

Alz org has tremendous collection of helpful stuff.

Since 2009 I have been collecting Alzheimer's information and caregiving stuff and posting to my blogs with the thought that I could go back and re-read. Recently I have been merging those blogs onto "MainZone Knowledge Network" and sometimes I stop and add to the index in the right hand column. IT IS A PASTIME activity not a source of income.

I am a planning nut, long term plans fascinate me.

I had a heart attack last month. Suddenly it occurred to me that my plans lack planning for what will happen if I drop dead and I am not resuscitated. We live alone may ADW requires 24/7 attention. . Children are on west coast. Having coded and been revived by CPR. I have an appointment this week with our elder affairs attorney and A.A.Aging case manager to draw up the what if I drop dead plan. This different from MOLST or health care proxy type plans.
This was a wake up call to get plans in place. It was aTotally unexpected event.
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Good post ak daughter
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My boss at work gave me something she downloaded from Amazon that gave the stages of Alzheimer's. My daughter and I watched it and were very sad afterward because my mother was already in stage 7. We probably watched this about 6 months ago and my mom passed away the end of this past April. I like structure in my life, and knowing the parameters of the stages was like structure for me. Even though each person goes through this journey at a different rate, as one other person commented, you never know how long each stage will last with each person. Even so, I think it does help even if only a little to have as much knowledge about it as you can. This disease makes you feel so helpless to help your loved one that learning all you can about it is maybe about the best you can do. That and a lot of prayer. She did cry in her sleep sometimes but most of that was her praying over her family. She did talk in her sleep too but a lot of that was hallucinations for which we had to start some medication and this got better. As much as you learn about the disease, just don't let it define her. She is still that person on the inside even if she can't convey it the same way anymore. Just love her.
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Those of us who are by nature "planners" feel a need to know what to expect. Money plays a large part in this. When will mom require 24/7 care in assisted living? How soon can I expect her to need a secure memory care facility? Since the memory care facilities don't accept Medicaid, should I move her to a nursing home now so that I can place her in a nicer one that requires a year of self-pay before accepting Medicaid assignment? These are the thoughts that have rolled around in my brain for the past nine years, even though I know that there is no way to predict the course of her dementia. Knowing the future would make these decisions so much easier. Unlimited funds would make them unnecessary.
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Well I DO understand the desire to know what stage they are in and the cause of their cognitive decline. There is a timeline involved in each phase, and although it may be pretty flexible it still helps to know when making long term plans. Several years ago I was lead to believe my mother wouldn't last another year, and although I probably would have made the same choices it would have saved me a lot of frustration along the way.
BTW, my mom is still undiagnosed but due to her history and sudden decline I'm sure she has vascular dementia or perhaps mixed dementia and has spent the past few years winding her way through stage 6.
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This is in the late stage of dementia. Next is loss of muscle movement.
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