Alzheimer’s disease: Signs, Symptoms, Stages and Treatment Options

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, says the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America1. It’s the most common form of dementia, which is a broad term for conditions that negatively affect memory, thinking and behavior, reports Healthline2. From understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s disease to considering treatment options, here’s what you may want to know about this disease.

See the signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Most people are diagnosed with the disease after age 65, notes Healthline3. A lot of times, people associate Alzheimer’s disease with forgetfulness. But this disease goes beyond that. People with Alzheimer’s disease have certain behaviors and symptoms that can worsen over time. Healthline4 shares what these symptoms are:

  • Memory loss that affects daily and routine activities, from keeping appointments to using a microwave
  • Struggles with problem-solving
  • Issues with writing or speech
  • Becoming confused about times or places
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decreased personal hygiene
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Not wanting to spend time with friends, family and community

Recognize the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means the symptoms will gradually increase over time. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have a support team of doctors, loved ones and caregivers to help you manage the changes. Healthline5 describes the seven main stages:

Stages 1–3: Pre-dementia and mild cognitive impairment

  • Stage 1: Even though there are no symptoms at this stage, now might be a good time to talk to your doctor if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Stage 2: Early symptoms start to appear, such as forgetfulness.
  • Stage 3: You might feel more forgetful, have trouble concentrating or have difficulty learning new skills.

Stages 4–7: Dementia

  • Stage 4: This is typically when Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed. Memory loss is more prevalent. Managing everyday tasks becomes difficult.
  • Stage 5: Loved ones and caregivers need to step in during this stage because it might be difficult to ensure daily needs are met. Eating meals, doing routine tasks and managing the home becomes very hard.
  • Stage 6: A person with Alzheimer’s disease will need help eating, dressing and using the bathroom.
  • Stage 7: This is the final and most severe stage. There’s a progressive loss of speech and facial expressions. Movement becomes limited, too.

Explore Alzheimer’s holistic treatment options

There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but your doctor might prescribe medication that could ease your symptoms or delay the progression of the disease, explains Healthline6. In addition to medication, you can create new strategies to help manage the condition. According to Healthline7, your doctor might suggest you:

  • Simplify tasks to limit confusion
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night
  • Explore relaxation or mindfulness techniques
  • Spend time in calming, soothing environments

Maintaining your comfort and quality of life through every stage of the disease is important. Healthline8 suggests there are other specialists to add to your care team. For example, you might see a physical therapist to help you stay active or a nutritionist to teach you how to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. A pharmacist can help monitor medications, a social worker can unlock resources and support, and a mental health professional can work with you one-on-one to discuss changes you’re going through.

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is life-altering. That’s why you’ll need all the mental, emotional and physical support you can get. Call the Alzheimer's Association Helpline9 at 800-272-3900, a free, 24/7 resource for patients and caregivers who have questions about the disease and want to get connected to resources.


  1. “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, last accessed July 5, 2022,
  2. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease,” Healthline, last accessed July 5, 2022,
  3. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease”
  4. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease”
  5. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease”
  6. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease”
  7. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease”
  8. “Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease”
  9. “Helpline,” the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, last accessed July 5, 2022,'s%20Association%2024%2F7,caregivers%2C%20families%20and%20the%20public.