What's the progress of your loved one's Alzheimer's like?

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Hello all you experienced caregivers. I'd like to know how different peoples alzheimers journey went. How long you loved ones suffered? How long did it take them before they were in oblivion and did realise the had the disease? Was it incredibly painful for them? My mum is in her third year of mixed dementia. She has been struggling for some time because she's aware she's lost her memory and is devastated! Shd still puts on make up everyday and chooses lovely clothes bug memory has GONE. Im so sad for her and just want her journey to be easy and as stress free as possible. Do some people remain 'stable' foe many years? Or is it inevitable going to esculate rapid? Would love to hear your experiences.

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Unfortunately, this disease is very unpredictable. My FIL was diagnosed about 7 years ago and until my MIL passed away 3months ago she did an excellent job of covering for him in social situations. His temperament is for the most part very good but does have episodes of anger/agitation. He is capable of doing his ADL's but requires much cueing and repeatedly telling him what to do. He at times does not recognize what food is front of him. According to his neurologist he is between late 5-6 stage. He is currently on Aricept and Namenda XR daily which only slows down the progression for a period of time. When the disease decides to progress dramatically it will no matter what pills you are giving. I have seen people diagnosed with Alzheimers that don't necessarily go through every stage they go right to late stages. It is so individualized and like I said unpredictable! Just since my MIL passing he has declined significantly. It is just a let's see what their like today type of disease. I sure wish there was a magic pill/potion to give these people to reverse this disease so they could live a long and happy life. I wish you nothing but the best in caring for your mother and you need to know it requires much, much patience to be a caregiver to those with Alzheimers. I am learning that very quickly. Patience was never my strongest virtue but it will be by the time this journey is done.
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Thank you for your replies. My mum is on low dose donepezil and a low dose antidepressant. I would like to know 'albeit roughly' how long she's likely to remain at this stage? Years/months?. I know every case is different but wondered if the fact she's had it three years and is still managing to feed/clothe herself and her home, any indication of how fast the disease is progressing
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It's a very individual disease. I agree with Pam that medications might be helpful, particularly early on. It can be a stop-and-start kind of thing, where she might seem much sharper at times than you would expect, and other times completely out of it.

To answer your question more specifically, Mom's memory loss diagnosis happened two years before Dad's, and neither of them were diagnosed particularly early in the disease. It took more than a year, in both cases, for us to realize that something was seriously wrong. That's the part Pam is talking about, where the family doesn't do enough to get things under control quickly, because of the spouse covering up, denial, or the family just not realizing exactly what's happening. In our case, we were all focused on her memory loss as his executive function/thinking began to deteriorate. But on the positive side, it has taken several years for them to get to the point where they needed to be assisted with their activities of daily living, and in part that was accelerated by physical limitations and isolation.
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Now is the time when Aricept or similar drugs can slow down the progression.
Early on you will see the "angry phase", where they know they are losing it and frustration runs high. Anxiety meds help. It is also the time when spouses cover up for them, family makes excuses and nothing gets done. Too many families wait until Grandpa spends all his money or totals his car.
Patients do not remain stable or static; relatives who say this are often in denial. Decline is gradual, but noticing it comes on as a complete surprise for all too many adult children. We don't want to think it could happen.
Eventually the angry phase disappears, because the patient can no longer remember what they were mad about. BUT they do pick up YOUR anxiety and your shortened fuse and return fire spit for spit. If you need anxiety or BP meds, get them and keep two people calm by using them. Honest.
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