Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

Frequently Asked Questions

2. What are the main stages of Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease has three stages: early (also called mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe). Understanding these stages can help you care for your loved one and plan ahead.

A person in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease may find it hard to remember things, ask the same questions over and over, lose things, or have trouble handling money and paying bills.

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses to the middle stage, memory loss and confusion grow worse, and people may have problems recognizing family and friends. Other symptoms at this stage may include difficulty learning new things and coping with new situations; trouble carrying out tasks that involve multiple steps, like getting dressed; forgetting the names of common things; and wandering away from home.

As Alzheimer’s disease becomes more severe, people lose the ability to communicate. They may sleep more, lose weight, and have trouble swallowing. Often they are incontinent—they cannot control their bladder and/or bowels. Eventually, they need total care.