Understanding and Coping with the Different Stages of Alzheimer’s

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be devastating, for both for the patient and their loved one, who will now likely be taking the role of caregiver. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, understanding what to expect at each stage can make things easier for everyone.


Upon Diagnosis

  1. Give yourselves time to adjust to the diagnosis. Not only may it be a shock, but many people will feel stigmatized by receiving or having their loved one receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. When you can, share the news. Most people find that doing so brings them support they did not expect.
  2. Know — and make sure the person who was diagnosed know —  that they will always play an important role in the lives of their loved ones.

Early-Stage Alzheimer’s

  1. Most people are able to live independently in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. Use this time to make important decisions and plans for the future.
  2. Start treatment. Early intervention has been shown to lessen the severity and progression of symptoms.
  3. Be aware that both of you will go through a grieving process. If you can accept and talk about your emotions, both of you will be able to handle your feelings more easily. Join a formal or informal support group to help you deal with your feelings and your challenges.
  4. Caregivers should not forget about caring for themselves. Keep yourself healthy, both physically and emotionally.
  5. Visit the Alzheimer’s Organization online. It has a wealth of information and support for people coping with this diagnosis.


Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s

  1. The middle stage of Alzheimer’s is typically the longest, often lasting years. Do your best to remain patient, flexible — and hopeful. The disease might be progressing, but there will still be good days.
  2. Taking care of a person with Alzheimer’s can turn into a fulltime job. As a caregiver’s responsibilities grow, they may find that they start to neglect their family’s needs and their personal needs. It is important to consider respite care when required so that life retains balance and joy.
  3. Safety concerns often come to the fore during the middle stage of Alzheimer’s. At this stage the person with Alzheimer’s will usually have to give up their car keys.  Communicating and basic grooming may become difficult. As much as possible, try to share whatever activities are still possible. Simple things, like taking a walk, can enhance the person’s quality of life, and reduce the anxiety that often emerges as an issue at this stage.
  4. At some point, it will become unsafe for your loved one to live independently, and other living arrangements will have to be considered. If this involves moving into a care facility, be sure to find one that offers special services for residents with Alzheimer’s, like Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center.


Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

  1. This last stage of Alzheimer’s can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. There will be serious deterioration in the person’s health. They will likely need full-time help, and may have trouble walking, and even swallowing.
  2. Their caretaker should try to preserve their loved one’s dignity and enhance their life in whatever ways possible. While your loved one may no longer be able to communicate directly, research shows they can still enjoy activities such as looking through old photos, getting a soft massage, or even having their hair gently brushed.
  3. At this point, it is likely that your loved one will not be able to stay at home, even with assistance. Be sure that the facility you consider offers staff who are especially trained in caring for people who may be nonverbal and bedridden. A facility with a dedicated Alzheimer’s wing, such as Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, is particularly well-equipped to care safely and compassionately for people with late-stage Alzheimer’s.
  4. This stage brings some of the most difficult healthcare decisions. It is important for the caregiver to be at peace with their decisions, and to have proper support, since this is usually an extremely stressful time.

At Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Keansburg, NJ, we offer specialized health services and programs for our residents suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes our sensory programs and activities provided in a secured environment. We also offer respite care for those times when the caretaker needs to be taken care of, and hospice care if required.

Our residents receive the highest quality rehabilitative and skilled nursing care in a homelike and compassionate environment conducive to healing.

Our family-owned and -operated 123-bed facility, is tucked away in the quiet beach town of Keansburg, NJ at the Jersey Shore, within sight of Sandy Hook and the New York City skyline.

Other services include short-term rehab, and long-term care. We proudly provide the following specialty healthcare services: complex medical care management, intravenous (IV) therapy, wound care, enteral feeding, pain management, oxygen therapy, tracheostomy care, a dedicated pulmonary program, hospice care with private suites, a stroke rehab program, respiratory support, eye care, dental care, podiatry care, and psychological consults and counseling.

We pride ourselves on healing the entire patient through a holistic and individualized approach.

Our meticulous care planning helps us ensure that each and every resident receives the best in clinical care, support and unconditional love.

For over 25 years, we have been a staple of health and wellness, serving the members of our community and partnering with our local hospitals like Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, NJ and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ.

We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.

Read our reviews on senioradvisor.com, wellness.comand caring.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.

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