The progression of Alzheimer’s disease varies from person to person, and can last anywhere from 2 years to more than 20 years. While the timeline varies, the symptoms tend to develop over the same stages.
These stages overlap, and individuals may move from stage to stage even within the same day or hour.
It sounds cliché but it’s true, when you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s, you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s.
For instance, I know a gentleman who has been living with Alzheimer’s for 20 years. If you were unfamiliar with Alzheimer’s and you happened to casually meet him, you likely wouldn’t figure it out – not at least until you tried to engage in meaningful conversation.
There are different models that describe the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The three, four, and seven stage models are the most common. These models focus on loss and are important to understand.
However, you want to be careful to not focus too much on the stage they are in. You want to reframe your view and focus on the individual and their remaining abilities.
Focusing on what remains, and not on what is lost, will help you best accommodate their needs and keep them feeling purposeful while maintaining their dignity.
Download this Together in This worksheet to see a more positive approach to viewing the stages: Reframing the Stages Example
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