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The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s

The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s were developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., a clinical director of the New York University of Medicine’s Silbertstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.

These seven stages make up a very general guide to show the progression of Alzheimer’s. Each person responds differently to the onset of the disease, therefore it is often difficult to place a person within just one specific stage as symptoms may overlap.

Stage 1 – Alzheimer’s begins before there is any detectable impairment, memory problems, or other symptoms of dementia.

Stage 2 – The patient may experience mild cognitive decline that can appear as normal age-related changes or early signs of the onset of the disease.

Stage 3 – Those around the patient may begin to notice difficulties. These may include:

  • Trouble scheduling plans
  • Remembering the correct words or names
  • Misplacing objects

Stage 4 – Moderate cognitive decline and symptoms in line with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis are easily detectable including:

  • Forgetfulness of recent events or even one’s own personal history
  • Greater difficulty performing complex tasks
  • Becoming moody or withdrawn, in socially or mentally challenging situations

Stage 5 – At this stage, patients will exhibit obvious gaps in memory and thinking as they require assistance with some day-today activities, including:

  • Understanding the days of the week
  • Recalling basic personal information like addresses or phone numbers
  • Choosing appropriate clothing for the current weather or season

Stage 6 – This stage marks the beginning of severe cognitive decline. Patients who have progressed to this point require a great deal of assistance with daily tasks. Patients may:

  • Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as their surroundings
  • Tend to wander or become lost
  • Experience difficulty remembering personal history
  • Have trouble matching a name to a still familiar face
  • Require help in the bathroom
  • Encounter issues with bladder or bowel control

Stage 7 – The final stage of Alzheimer’s is characterized by the individual’s total inability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation, and in some cases, control of movement and motor functions.

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