I am just wondering what stage he is in and how long the stages generally last.

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I'm not a doctor, but from my research, this forum and my personal experience, it appears dementia affects everyone a little differently in that our loved ones can move to 'stages' at a different pace - and stay in 'stages' for varying lengths of time. Having said that, I did find the info in the following link very helpful as it gave me a sense of what to expect as this horrible disease progresses. Based on this chart, it appears my husband is in stage 6. I hope this is helpful info for you.
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I agree with nothisfault, I also was told by Geriatrician that my mother can go through different symptoms of different stages in one day. She can stay where she is for the rest of her life or can go further into it. Some days she is fine, other days, not, there is a lot involved too, personality disorders, moods, etc. My mother knows she has "something" not right with her and uses it to her advantage at times, go figure...
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I agree with both comments..You can't really pinpoint a stage. It changes daily..My Mom is 91 and some days are better than others.. My Mom also seems to use it to her advantage..I wish I could!!
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Thank you NotHisFault. I found the chart very useful. From reading it my husband is in stage 5. Everything is still tolerable but leaning towards stage 6. He has already lost his ability to have a nice conversation having lost lots of vocabulary. I feel like I am talking to the wall since he does not understand much of what I say and barely responds unless it is something very basic! I guess this is why I crave conversation with others. Unfortunately he is extremely healthy and could go on for at least another 10 years in the final stages! This is what upsets me the most. I hate the idea of him living in "Nowhere Land" for the rest of his days. He was and is my best friend. I don't want to see him live endlessly in the final stages!
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I would say the best way to deal with this is one day at a time, we can get pretty overwhelmed by anything if we project into tomorrow. We do not know the day the time nor the hour when we leave this earth, so just concentrate on doing today with the most joy you can muster, that is what I must do.
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Wam, found this last night,

3 Stages of Alzheimer's Disease: Different Classifications
By Dick Harkes

Three Stages of Alzheimer's;

The systems describing the stages of Alzheimer's Disease provide a great help to understand how the disease is going to develop. This will be helpful for making future plans.

It is important to note however that the progress differs from patient to patient. Not all symptoms are the same and the rate of development of the disease varies from case to case.

Generally spoken we can say people with Alzheimer's die an average of four to six years after diagnosis. The duration of the disease can vary from three to 20 years, taking into account that the first period often goes unnoticed.

The Different Classifications of the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

The three stages classification describes the disease in:
1. Mild/Early;
2. Moderate/Middle;
3. Severe/Late.

Below we describe the three stages classification as an example of these classification systems. This also gives you an insight in what to expect.

The 3 stages of Alzheimer's Disease


This stage normally has a duration of 2 to 4 years.
The symptoms in this first of the 3 stages of Alzheimer's Disease are:

Recent conversation, appointments and happenings are forgotten directly after they happened. Sometimes they have difficulties in using the right words and understanding language.
They repeat the same story a couple of times the same day.
Problems with writing and using objects like the remote control of the TV set or mobile phones become difficult.
They need reminders for daily activities.
During the development of the disease, the degree of memory loss progresses.

It's not so rare if they get lost, even in the neighborhood of their homes. They may get problems in handling money and paying bills and need more time to complete normal daily tasks. More and more they have difficulties in making the right decisions, they exhibit rapid mood swings and their character changes.
This is the stage most people are diagnosed.


This stage takes normally 2 to 10 years (this is also an explanation for the difference in total duration of the disease)
In this stage you'll find the consequences of the damage occurring in those areas of the mind that control language, logical reasoning, sensory processing, and realistic thoughts:

They have increasing difficulties in solving problems.
The growing degree of amnesia makes increasing problems in daily life.
Confused speech, illogical reasoning, confusion about events that occur and also about time and place are seen more and more.
They tend to get lost in familiar settings, not knowing any longer where to store the dishes after washing-up. Many patients suffer from insomnia and mood or behavioral symptoms worsen.
Almost 80 percent of the Alzheimer's patients have emotional and behavioral problems that worsen at moments of stress and changes of life.
Sluggishness, stiffness, shakiness and worsening in walking affect the mobility and coordination.
They may have hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, and may behave impulsively.
Their caregivers should provide them with structure, reminders and assistance with activities of daily living.


The duration of this third stage of Alzheimer's Disease is: 1 to 3 and more years.
The main symptoms of this stage are:

The past and present are confused.
They don't recognize familiar people (even their spouse and children) and places (like not remembering their own living room).
Verbal skills difficulties, even loss of these.
They are no longer capable to care for themselves.
Walking problems, increasingly chances to fall to possible immobility.
Increasingly risk of choking caused by problems with swallowing. Problems with bladder and bowel control, susceptible for infections.
Extreme problems with mood, behavioral problems, hallucinations, and delirium.
The patients in this stage need total support and care. They often die from infections or pneumonia.

Dick Harkes was confronted with Alzheimer's Disease in the spring of 2010 when his father was diagnosed with this awful ailment. From that moment on he collected all kinds of information about Alzheimer's Disease. In that way he developed himself an expertise on a variety of aspects on the disease. He likes to share this information with as many people as possible.
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All excellent posts - having just gone through this with my husband of almost 42 years. No two people are alike, but there are many symptoms that are experienced by all who have Alz. There are a couple of books I read that helped me: "The 36 Hour Day" and "Your Name Is Hughes Hannibal Shanks" written by his wife back in the 1980's. She was so right on about so many things. You can Google Alzheimer's and go to the library and select any number of books on the subject. These two are particularly well written as they are real experiences of people living with Alz. I can only say, don't despair, the person you see and talk to now, can not help themselves, not the person you married, they are a stranger in their own skin. It is the most horrible disease - to watch a loved one deteriorate. It takes away their self confidence and dignity which is where we as caregivers come in - to help them maintain what they have left, to love them, with words and deeds. God bless all the caregivers and the patients who need help so badly. I can only say, do your best, thank God every day that you can love and care for them. It is over all too soon, and I'd do it all again if I had the chance. Love, blessings and prayers.
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First, the neurologist should tell you what stage your loved one is in, if not, ask. Secondly, you can go to for the Alzheimer's website and they describe stages, but know everyone is unique and does not fit into each stage exactly. Some state the stages as having four, while others describe stages to seven. It all depends on what type of dementia, and the region of the brain that's affected. People can live a short time from 1 yr. to 20 yrs. with dementia. This is the we-don't-know disease, and caregivers can only wait and take care.
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Thank you everyone. I already know from a post this morning, that he is in stage 5. Already know that the stages can vary....for instance the one about mental calculations. That was Bill's first symptom and that is how I knew he had Alz right away. He could no longer do the checkbook which he had done for almost 30 years. He became very agitated and upset that he could not do it and I insisted that he do it because I was still working full time and he was retired. Finally 6 months later when the summer came, I took over. He had bounced over $2000 in household checks!! We went straight to the doctors and the doctor was not convinced. Then I noticed that my fix-it man, who fixed IBM computers for a living, and could fix just about anything, did not know how to follow written directions and did not know the name of his tools. Not even a hammer or a screwdriver. I pretty much new for certain when I notoiced that. The doctor finally decided I was right and put him on Arricept, two years later Namenda. I have not noticed any slowing down of symptoms. It has been a steady decline losing more every day. But right now we are at a good place. He no longer tries to do frustrating things and he is happy and easy to please. So I am trying to enjoy him as much as I can. I take him on day trips , weekly church, outings such as shopping and errands. He enjoys getting out of the house and he does not wander off. He seems to want me to be in his sight constantly. During the day he folllows me around the house and makes sure I am there. He watches the same DVD's everyday and I watch TV in the bedroom to get away from the boring movies. I guess we are doing good for the circumstances. we are already in the 7th year since I noticed obvious stuff. We have no family close by but I have friends and church friends who can and will help me when I need it. I am glad to have all those great friends.
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I am so happy you wrote back. Realize that Namenda does not slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. If he is docile, it is the drug. You don't need to stay in your room and watch television. He is really unable to follow the storyline, and pretty soon he will be unable to read. Switch videos to cartoons or other comedy so he is laughing. Laughter will keep his abdominal muscles working hard increasing his lung capacity. Have your church friends give you respite every week. Go shopping, to the spa, whatever you need to feel disconnected from your caregiving duties. I escape by talking to total strangers at the store, women from the bank, anyone and all ages to stimulate my brain. Know you are not alone, and you are being blessed everyday! Best wishes.
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Hard to say in stages, my husband dresses himself, drives, and plays on computer but he speaks in one or two words, thinks others know what subject he is talking about and is clumsy. He moves from computer to tv and will do simple chores if told to do them. He cannot follow a conversation or make rational contribution. He is child like, smiles is friendly but you can tell he is blank.
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I read the Stages...but my problem is my husband has not been able to communicate/ talk since one year after diagnosis. Words were the first to go. Then it was a nod yes, or the word yah yah yah or nononono. That was it. But that went quickly too. He cannot speak, he cannot shake his head yes or no, he cannot give hand movements....and as I said this has been for the past 3 to 4 years. So I have no way of knowing what stage he is.The Stages are a help but they all involve some type of communication. I sure hope I am not the only person who has this problem with the patients speech.
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I am not totally sure these stages have much to do with the patient. If I read the stages, my husband is in stage 7. Now there are days he can take his shirt or shoes off with some coaxing. He needs to be fed unless it is finger food. He will often fall asleep while he is eating but I tell him to wake up and eat and he starts seating. He can most of the time hold a cup to drink or drink from a straw. He eats very well but never asks for anything to eat or drink. He just sits and sleeps all day. If I wake him and ask him if he is hungry, he will say yes and either I feed him or give him finger foods. He has a foley cathetor full time as he can't remember he has to pee. As for the bowel movements, as long as I get him up about the same time each day and dress and undress him while he is on the potty, he will do his thing. He understands when I talk to him but does not communicate well. He does not know me or anyone else but he knows I am someone who is aways there and comfortable with me. So it is a day to day thing for him. Some good and some not so good.
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There are ways you can help the communication deficits.

When their brain isn't comprehending what's going on around them, all the words they hear just sound like so much chatter. I found by sitting quite close to them and asking questions of only three or four words (Are you hungry, How are you today?), then just looking at them and waiting patiently with a smile for an answer, they are often able to get around to an answer. Keeping them talking, if they can, is really good for their brain. My older sister would come to visit my father and was so uncomfortable with the pregnant pauses, she just rambled on with anything she could think of to say. It never took too long for my father, with a look of disgust, to just get up and walk out of the room. My mom and I tried to tell her that he didn't do well with so much talking, but her own discomfort was always her overriding concern.

Television can be of great help if you're able to purchase media without commercials. The problem with commercials is that they get mixed up between the programs and the commercials. Pretty soon it is too confusing, they can't follow it, and they will either become cranky, ask for you to turn it off or get up and leave the room. If you can, get some old silent comedies, lots of prattfalls, like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Some older cartoons (Mickey, Bugs, Tom and Jerry) with lots of movement, musical zips and zings, and minimal talking. Also comedy sketches with minimal talking such as Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges. My mom liked, and for some reason could follow, westerns. But they had to be Roy Rogers or Bonanza. I think it was the action she was attracted to because she generally wasn't interested in Little House on the Prairie.

I never got around to it and I know it takes a little technical wizardry, but I think if you can hook your computer as a receiver up to your TV and subscribe to Netflix for a nominal monthly fee, many programs that could be a value come with the subscription rather than having to purchase tapes or discs.

The real trick with communication is to get them to interesting places, where they can see saying that they may want to comment on, but not be the one, or have others around you be the ones, who are feeling in the conversational gaps. THAT will generally keep a dementia patient quiet for sure, we're trying to get away in disgust. Although they may sit there for a while trying to be pleasant, what a lot of people don't realize it is how hard it is for them to hear lots of words they don't understand AND how hard it is for them to sit there and be pleasant.

My mom used to enjoy listening to music. She could tune into an old time radio station and sit in her rocking chair for hours. Not so after the dementia came about. No more music, no more of her favorite soap opera, no more of anything much that she used to enjoy. But I have an autoharp, and when I sat down to play it, songs like Home Home on the Range, Lullabye and Goodnight, etc., much to my surprise, she would begin singing along. We could do that for a couple of hours, longer than any other activity except maybe eating, which certainly didn't take a couple of hours. In her younger years she had taught herself to play the piano and organ, she still commented as she walked by her organ everyday that she might "get back to it".

These are just personal experiences. I don't know if they'll be helpful in any one particular case.
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where they can see SOMETHING they may want to comment on, but you not be the one, or have others around you be the ones, who are FILLING and the conversational gaps. THAT will generally keep a dementia patient quiet for sure, OR trying to get away in disgust
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