Why Is It Important to Think More

Current state of Readiness: Contemplation

Individuals openly state their intent to change within the next 6 months and are more aware of the benefits of changing, but remain aware of the costs.

Our Goal: To encourage and motivate you to make specific plans.

Featured Videos & Articles

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate, and carry out daily activities.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations.

There are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease.

How Alzheimer’s Disease Changes the Brain

  • Unfortunately, neurons are the primary type of cells destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease disrupts both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.
  • Stage 1: No impairment
    • Unimpaired individuals experience no memory problems and none are evident to a health care professional during a medical interview.
  • Stage 2: Very mild decline
    • Individuals may feel as if they have memory lapses, especially in forgetting familiar words or names, or the location of keys, eyeglasses or other everyday objects. But these problems are not evident during a medical examination or apparent to friends, family or co-workers.
  • Stage 3: Mild decline
    • Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice deficiencies and problems with memory, or concentration may be measurable during a detailed medical interview.
    • Common difficulties include:
      • Word -or name- finding problems noticeable to family or close associates
      • Decreased ability to remember names when introduced to new people
      • Performance issues in social or work settings noticeable to family, friends, or co-workers
      • Reading a passage and retaining little material
      • Losing or misplacing a valuable object
      • Decline in ability to plan or organize
  • Stage 4: Moderate decline (mild or early stage)
    • A careful medical interview detects clear-cut deficiencies in the following areas:
      • Decreased knowledge of recent occasions or current events
      • Impaired ability to perform challenging mental arithmetic-for example, to count backward from 75 by 7s
      • Decreased capacity to perform complex tasks, such as planning dinner for guests, paying bills, and managing finances
      • Reduced memory of personal history
      • Affected individuals may seem subdued and withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations
  • Stage 5: Moderately severe decline (moderate or mid-stage)
    • Major gaps in memory and deficits in cognitive function emerge. Some assistance with day-to-day activities becomes essential. At this stage, individuals may:
      • Be unable during a medical interview to recall such important details as their current address, telephone number, or the name of the college
      • or high school from which they graduated
      • Become confused about where they are or about the date, day of the week, or season
      • Have trouble with less challenging mental arithmetic; for example, counting backward from 40 by 4s or from 20 by 2s
      • Need help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion
      • Usually retain substantial knowledge about themselves and know their own name and the names of their spouse and children
  • Stage 6: Severe decline (moderately severe or mid-stage)
    • Memory difficulties continue to worsen, significant personality changes may emerge and affected individuals need extensive help with customary daily activities. At this stage, individuals may:
      • Lose most awareness of recent experiences and events as well as of their surroundings
      • Recollect their personal history imperfectly, although they generally recall their own name
      • Occasionally forget the name of their spouse or primary caregiver but generally can distinguish familiar from unfamiliar faces
      • Need help getting dressed properly; without supervision, may make such errors as putting pajamas over daytime clothes
      • Experience disruption of their normal sleep/waking cycle
      • Need help with handling details of toileting
      • Have increasing episodes of urinary or fecal incontinence
      • Experience significant personality changes and behavioral symptoms, including suspiciousness, delusions, hallucinations, or compulsive, repetitive behaviors such as tissue shredding
      • Tend to wander and become lost
  • Stage 7: Very severe decline (severe or late stage)
    • In the final stage of the disease, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, the ability to speak and, ultimately, the ability to control movement.
      • Frequently individuals lose their capacity for recognizable speech, although words or phrases may occasionally be uttered
      • Individuals need help with eating and toileting and there is general incontinence of urine
      • Individuals lose the ability to walk without assistance, then the ability to sit without support, the ability to smile, and the ability to hold their heads up.

The Next Step

Related Videos & Articles