As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it develops into mid-stage Alzheimer’s (also called moderate Alzheimer’s disease). During this stage, the patient’s mental deterioration is evident. Alzheimer’s symptoms should no longer be mistaken for normal age-related forgetfulness. Mid-stage Alzheimer’s is generally the most prolonged of the three stages (early, mid and late) of Alzheimer’s disease, lasting anywhere from two to ten years.
Mid-Stage Alzheimer’s: Cognitive Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
During this stage, cognitive abilities continue to decline. Near the beginning of mid-stage Alzheimer’s, the individual will likely exhibit:
- Difficulty completing semi-complex tasks, such as organizing an event or managing a budget
- Difficulty performing semi-complex mental calculations
- Reduced memory of recent information and current events.
As mid-stage Alzheimer’s progresses, symptoms become more acute. Moderately severe Alzheimer’s symptoms include:
- Confusion about the date, month or year
- Difficulty performing simple mental calculations
- Difficulty recognizing family members (or mixing up family members)
- Reduced ability to remember personal information, such as address and telephone number.
During mid-stage Alzheimer’s, the individual will most likely retain:
- An awareness of his condition
- An awareness of who he is
- The names of his spouse and children.
Mid-Stage Alzheimer’s: Behavioral Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s can result in some very disturbing behavioral symptoms. These behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be very difficult for family members to cope with, but can also be upsetting to the patient.
Common behavioral Alzheimer’s symptoms include:
- Aggression (such as hitting and kicking)
- Agitation and restlessness
- Anger (including swearing and screaming)
- Difficulty expressing feelings, desires and needs (both oral and written communication)
- Exhibiting inappropriate behavior (such as undressing in public)
- Neglect of appearance and other basic needs (including eating and sleeping)
- Paranoia (including accusing others of stealing her possessions)
- Relaying false information (such as “My dad and I are going fishing today.”)
- Repeating questions and stories
- Repetitive movements (like pacing or repetitive hand motions)
- Taking items that don’t belong to her and thinking they are hers
- Wandering off
- Withdrawal from social situations.
Mid-Stage Alzheimer’s Care Issues
During this stage, the patient is still somewhat independent, but requires assistance with complex tasks. As mid-stage Alzheimer’s progresses, he will gradually need assistance with simpler tasks.
During this stage, the patient may need help:
- Choosing weather-appropriate clothing or dressing himself
- Following written instructions
- Paying bills
- Preparing food
- Using the washroom facilities properly.
If the patient is prone to wandering off, he will require constant attention or monitoring so he will not hurt himself or others.
Alzheimer’s Association. (n.d.) Stages of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved June 11, 2010, from http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp.
Alzheimer Society of Canada. (n.d.) What is Alzheimer’s disease? Retrieved April 23, 2010, from http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/whatisit-intro.htm.
American Health Assistance Foundation. (n.d.) Alzheimer’s symptoms and stages. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from http://www.ahaf.org/alzheimers/about/symptomsandstages.html.
Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. (n.d.) Clinical stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Retrieved June 11, 2010, from http://www.alzinfo.org/clinical-stages-of-alzheimers-disease.asp.
Mayo Clinic. (2008). Alzheimer’s stages: How the disease progresses. Retrieved June 11, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-stages/AZ00041.
U.S. National Institutes of Health National Institute of Aging. (n.d.) Understanding stages and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/stages.htm.