Alzheimer's Disease Stages of Alzheimer's and Activities Term Paper

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Alzheimer's Disease

Stages of Alzheimer's and Activities for people with Dementia

Stages and Symptoms of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Stage 1: No Cognitive Impairment

Alzheimer's Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline

Activities for people suffering from Dementia

The Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease which affects the brain and leads to impaired thinking and memory processes. It is the most common kind of dementia. Dementia is a syndrome that involves symptoms like loss of memory and judgment, failure to reason and extreme changes in moods, behavior and communication ability.

This disease was first recognized by Dr. Alois Alzheimer back in 1906. He identified this disease by describing two hallmarks of the disease. Firstly, there were the "plaques" which refer to the millions of micro deposits that can be found in the brain and which prove to be toxic for the functioning of the brain cells at different levels. Then there are "tangles" which provide hindrance to the essential processes of the brain and choke the living cells of the brain that help it function properly. When these cells are degenerated and die, certain regions of the brain shrink in size and cause impairments. Alzheimer's disease is a disorder which is common in the older generation and it is known to affect millions of people above the age of 55. This is a disease that causes more worry and frustration for the older people rather than any other disease. This problem may even be hereditary and is a matter of worry if it runs in the family because the younger generations are automatically at threat (Robinson, 2011).

The symptoms of this form of dementia include memory loss. Although not all memory loss cases are necessarily Alzheimer's disease. Research shows that currently 26 million people all over the world suffer from this disease and estimates state that by the year 2050, almost 15 million Americans will be facing this problem.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's usually develop over time and grow more severe gradually moving from mild memory loss to severe brain imparities. The changes in the chemical and structural state of the mind lead to the slow and gradual destruction of the ability to create, recognize, learn, memorize and apply the power of the mind. As the important cells of the brain are gradually destroyed, it leaves the personality destroyed and failure of the body systems (Hill, 2010).

Stages and Symptoms of Alzheimer's:

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes severe personality changes and disorders. It is characterized by memory loss, intellectually slowing down and other symptoms. Although, the stages in this disease may be different for every individual who suffers from it, but most of them have the same series of effectiveness (Robinson, 2011). With every passing stage, the symptoms grow more evident and the extremeness of the disease increases.

Researchers have come up with seven stages to explain how this disease slowly takes over and what its implications are. The stages may also be classified in the early, middle and last stages based on the severity.

Alzheimer's Stage 1: No Cognitive Impairment

At this stage, the person shows no obvious impairment in memory and these will probably not be diagnosed even if examined by a proper healthcare professional.

Alzheimer's Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

As the individual reaches the second stage, he will start showing mild signs of memory loss whereby the person may be unable to recall recent names, places, events or words of regular usage as well as where frequent use objects were such as watch, paper, pens or keys. This is just the beginning phase of the problem and may not be easy to notice by loved ones, friends or people around. It might even be difficult for the doctor to figure out the disease at such an early stage (Hill, 2010).

Alzheimer's Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline

At the third stage, there may be obvious evidence of the existence of the disease and it may be easier to diagnose the problem. There are certain symptoms that make things obvious and the people in contact with the patient can figure out the problem. The symptoms include:

Difficulty in recalling and remembering names and words.

Failure to remember the names of people that have been newly introduced or encountered.

Inability to recall the text or a passage that the person has recently read by the person.

Failure to plan things out properly and to function normally.

A fall in the performance, socially as well as in the field of work.

Forgetting where an object was kept and not being able to recall the usual place of a frequently used object.

Writing words that make no sense and being used quite commonly.

Alzheimer's Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline

At this stage, the person is kept under examination and shows clear signs of the existing problem or disease. The deteriorating mental capability is evident and can be identified easily by the way the person acts in situations (Saisan, 2011). The symptoms at this stage can be identified as:

Evidence of impaired memory on recent events and occasions.

Inability to perform small mental tasks such as counting backwards.

Problem in managing finances and planning events.

Short-term memory of personal experiences and past events in life.

Absent mindedness and difficulty in situations that are mentally challenging.

Alzheimer's Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

When a person reaches this stage of the disease, affects become evident and the memory loss and slow functioning of the brain is very obvious. The person at such a stage would require assistance and attention as the brain starts to work slowly and such people tend to have trouble grasping what is going on (Segal, 2011). He symptoms noted at this stage are:

Failure to recall personal details such as address, telephone number, birthday, place of schooling and higher education.

Inability to identify the date, time of the day, week and month as well as the season of the year, whether it is summer or winter.

Impairment in performing tasks that require lesser mental capacity and are not that challenging.

Choosing things that do not suit the situation for instance, being unable to decide on the clothes according to the seasons. The impaired might choose winter attire for the summer or the other way round.

They are still able to recognize their loved ones and remember their names as well as their own.

Can perform tasks such as eating and going to the bathroom themselves.

Alzheimer's Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

This stage signals severe impairment and loss of the brain functions. There are great implications on the individual's personality and the ability to recall things severely declines and requires complete care at all times as well as assistance (Segal, 2011). The symptoms occurring at this stage are:

Inability to identify any recent event, experience or even the surroundings of the individual.

Impairment in recalling history and past events. Individuals at this stage may however still be able to recall their own name.

The person may be able to recognize and acknowledge familiar faces but will generally forget the names even of the closed ones like the spouse and children.

A person reaching this stage will require someone's help in performing daily tasks like getting dressed and using the bathroom.

Mistakes like putting on the shoe in the wrong foot or wear clothes inside out may become common.

Sudden disturbances may start like sleep walking and sleep talking or becoming lost and being unable to recall their house.

No control over the urinary or fecal urges.

Evident personality and behavior changes like paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and OCD.

Alzheimer's Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline

This last stage is the most critical stage whereby the person loses absolute control on his body movements and his brain. The patient loses all abilities of responding, speaking and recognizing what is going on around them. The symptoms for this last stage are:

Complete inability to recognize and understand speech thus resulting in impairment in talking and responding.

Full help in eating, using the bathroom and performing tasks of regular routine.

Failure to manage oneself and move the muscles properly without anyone's assistance. The severity of the condition is such that the person cannot even smile, swallow the food and move. Hence, at this last stage, the person becomes totally impaired and dependant on others.

Activities for people suffering from Dementia:

To provide for a person with dementia, the first step in taking care and providing assistance to the patient is to devise a daily routine and a list of activities that prove to be productive, interesting, and meaningful and keep the person occupied as well as provide a sense of achievement. It is important to keep in mind that the activities should cater to the person's social, physical, mental…

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