Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 angie, Community Member, asks

Q: how long does each stage, on average, last?

Answer This
Answers (4)
Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
3/24/09 8:02am

Hi Angie,


The stages can go back and forth, and be very different in each person. You could check with the Alzheimer's Association in your area for generalities, but I'm not sure they could give you much.


Some people live 20 years with Alzheimer's and others live five. Researchers aren't even sure when the disease begins, but it's likely long before there are any symptoms. The best approach, at this time, seems to be early intervention with appropriate drugs, after a diagnosis by a qualified specialist. Then, the stages will move forward, but for many people, at a slower rate than without treatment.


Hard facts? Tough to come by. Give your area office a call and see if they have something more definite.


Take care,


Christine Kennard, Health Pro
3/24/09 9:56am

Hi Angie


It is a source of frustration for many people looking after someone with Alzheimer's that there is great individual variation in the course of the disease. Breaking down the disease into various stages, although somewhat arbitary, does provide some guidence, but that does not translate to time frames. So for some people progession from one stage to the next can be fast, in others, as Carol points out it can be a very long time.


Overall it has been estimated that Alzheimer's disease shortens life expectancy by about 5 years.



Dorian Martin, Health Guide
3/24/09 4:47pm

Hi, Angie,


I second both responses above. Another piece that can have an effect on how quickly the Alzheimer's progresses is if the person has another disease. For instance, my mom had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) from smoking for way too many years. She had lost about 80 percent of her lung capacity. As her lung disease advanced, her mental capacity diminished more rapidly than it otherwise would.

Take care and keep us posted!



NC, Community Member
3/26/09 6:29pm

I like to share with you my experience that I had gotten from caring my father-in-law. We have 24 hours caregivers for him as we live out of town although we are with him more this year (6 months). He got the diagnosis in Nov., 2006. At that time, it was like early mid-Alzheimer's. He is kind of slow with this thing: as a MD., Ph.D., I think his knowledge helps to slow down his progression. But slowly each year, he is worse. This year he is more agitated and forgot his career in details. He can no longer walk a long distance (this happened in Oct., 2007.) It seems even stage 6 takes forever. He can still talk well although he has trouble to express himself at times. Now in Jan., he got congestive heart failure the second time. I was told by the home care nurse that he would not have 5 years due to heart failure. He will die of heart failure instead of Alzheimer's which is slowly eating him up and makes him depressed and confused at times.

My thinking is his Alzheimer's and heart failure may interplay together and he may die from both or either depending on the situation. I think for Alzheimer's he got a little longer than this heart failure thing. In any case, we all believe that with both diseases interplaying, he would get only 5 more years. The end stage of Alzheimers (stage 7) only takes about 1-3 years.


Take care,


SAC, Community Member
12/10/10 7:39pm

I'd like to say that we are in the process of trying to figure out what has been going on with my dad. His dad passed away from Alzheimer's and his dad's dad passed away from what they think at the time was Alzheimer's.  I'm so worried and I have never seen my dad look so sad and vulnerable.  These are his symptoms: disorientated, forgetful, tired, almost started house on fire, calls me and forgets that he called me a couple of times in a day, off blance(equalibrium balance is off) and he looks like he has aged 8 years in the past year.  Now I don't live close to him so I am just finding stuff out from big episodes that have happended in the last year.  Can anyone please share the symptoms that you have seen in your loved ones? Thanks for any thoughts you would like to share.

Paul, Community Member
5/20/11 11:18am

Your letter really hit home with me. I wonder how you are doing.

I am so glad for the internet because it can make a lonely disease

like this not so lonely. My father is going through what you wrote

about, and it is breaking all of our hearts.

Blueeyes66, Community Member
7/ 5/12 11:17pm
My mom has sever Alzheimer's. With her we have seen mood swings, she doesn't know us, she is losing all her motor skills, she doesn't remember anyone or anything, she can't dress herself, she doesn't eat enough to keep a rat alive. Total change from what she use to be. It is a very hard thing to go through. Very confussed, cries a lot but don't know why, halusinates, can't do anything really for her self, scared all the time. When u look in her eyes it's like she's not there anymore. But to us she is still our mom until GOD calls her home and we will do whatever we can to let her know we love her. My sister and I take care of her. Well I hope this helps u out some. Good luck and may GOD be with u and your family. P.S. Each stage can be different, the time can be different for each person. Reply
Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
7/ 6/12 6:44am

Thanks for your wonderful replay. Your mom is still "in there" - she just can't communicate. Keep loving her and comforting her.



Answer This

We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By angie, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/13/14, First Published: 03/24/09