National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Understand the three stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how care companions can help patients in each of these different stages.

Alzheimer’s Or Dementia? 

Alzheimer’s and dementia are often confused and used interchangeably, but they are different. 

Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to a list of different symptoms, one of those being brain and memory function. There are diseases other than Alzheimer’s which can cause dementia. When an individual is diagnosed with dementia, they are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms, without knowing what is specifically causing them. Some forms of dementia are temporary or reversible. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. Symptoms of the disease include impaired thought, speech and confusion. Alzheimer’s is not reversible or curable.

10 Signs Of Alzheimer’s

Here are 10 warning signs and symptoms of a person having Alzheimer’s disease.(

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusing time or place
  5. Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. Trouble with finding the right words
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace their steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
  9. Withdrawal from activities
  10. Changes in mood or personality
The 3 Stages Of Alzheimer’s


In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, friends and family may start to notice their loved one experiencing difficulty remembering things such as familiar words or the location of everyday objects. Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty finding the right word for something
  • Forgetting something they just read
  • Not remembering names of people they were just introduced to
  • Difficulty performing routine tasks at work or socially
  • Losing or misplacing objects
  • Trouble planning or organizing


Since the individual is still independent at this stage, a care companion’s role can be to provide support and companionship. The person with Alzheimer’s may need help with things like:

  • Appointments
  • Managing finances
  • Remembering names or words
  • Transportation
  • Planning and organizing
  • Keeping track of medication

It’s important to allow the person to maintain their independence as much as possible and keep communication open for when they do need assistance.


This is usually the longest stage and individuals can stay in this stage for several years. As the disease progresses, the need and level of care will become greater. People at this stage may start to confuse words, get angry or frustrated or act out in unexpected ways. Symptoms will be more noticeable and include:

  • Forgetting information such as their own address or telephone number
  • Feeling moody or withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Forgetting events about their own life
  • Being confused on what day it is or where they are
  • Needing assistance picking out clothes that are appropriate for the season or occasion
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Wandering and getting lost
  • Personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions


Individuals at this stage will require a greater level of care. The person with Alzheimer’s may become frustrated and upset when they have difficulty remembering things and names or trouble with daily activities such as getting dressed. You will most likely have to adjust your daily routine to include more structure for the individual with Alzheimer’s. At this stage care companions can:

  • Use a calm voice when responding to questions to help the person from getting upset or frustrated.
  • Respond to the person’s emotion, instead of the question asked. The individual may need reassurance.
  • If the individual can still read, write out reminders for them.

Practice patience and sensitivity with patients in this stage. They may become increasingly upset or frustrated as they lose more brain function as well as their independence.


In the final stage of Alzheimer’s, personality changes may occur and individuals need increasing help with daily activities. They may still use words or phrases, but communicating emotion becomes difficult. Symptoms and behaviors at this stage may include:

  • Changes in physical abilities, including the ability to walk, sit and swallow
  • Needing assistance with daily personal care
  • Not knowing their surroundings or recalling recent experiences
  • Increasingly difficulty communicating
  • Vulnerability to infections, particularly pneumonia


Intensive, around-the-clock care is usually required at this stage and can last from several weeks to several years. The role of the care companion is to preserve the quality of life and dignity for the individual. People in this stage will need help with most activities including eating, dressing, and even walking. At this stage, the world is mainly experienced through the senses. Care companions can connect and help an individual by:

  • Playing his or her favorite music
  • Reading excerpts of their favorite books
  • Looking at old photos with them
  • Preparing a favorite meal
  • Brushing the person’s hair
  • Sitting outside together

Although an individual in this stage is unable to communicate, research shows that some core of their self may still remain. Care companions and loved ones may be able to connect on some level even in this stage of the disease.

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At Daughter for Hire, we’re focused on our day to day relationships with our care companions, clients and families. Communication is the focal point that makes everything run smoothly and provide peace of mind to our clients and their families.  Our Daughter for Hire blog will share with you helpful tips, some of the latest news updates, and information on topics that are most important to you.  Follow us by subscribing to our social media channels and email newsletter.

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