Alzheimer's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

6. What are the stages in the development of Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease has three stages: early (also called mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe).

A person in the early stage of Alzheimer’s may

  • find it hard to remember things
  • ask the same questions over and over
  • get lost in familiar places
  • lose things or put them in odd places
  • have trouble handling money and paying bills
  • take longer than normal to finish daily tasks.

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 are this stage include

  • difficulty learning new things and coping with new situations
  • trouble carrying out tasks that involve multiple steps, like getting dressed
  • impulsive behavior
  • forgetting the names of common things
  • hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
  • 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.