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Center of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease (CEAD)
at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

What are the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease?

Stage 1: No impairment: Classified as normal brain activity. Unimpaired individuals have no memory problems.

Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Impairment: This is classified as normal aging or early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Many individuals may feel as if they have memory loss or lapses. They may lose their keys or forget familiar names.

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline: Decreased ability in remembering people's names, reading a passage and retaining little detail; decline in ability to plan or organize.

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline: Reduced memory of personal history, the affected individual may seem subdued or withdrawn, especially in socially and mentally challenging situations.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline (Mid stage Alzheimer's disease): In this stage major gaps in memory and deficits in cognitive function emerge. The individual requires help with dressing appropriately for the season, they become confused about their whereabouts, time of the day, day of the week, or season.

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline: Memory difficulties continue to worsen. Significant personality changes emerge, recall their own personal history imperfectly but generally can recall their own name. Occasionally individuals with AD forget the names of their spouses or caregivers but are able to distinguish between a familiar and unfamiliar face, and tendency to wander and get lost among other things.

Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline: This is the final stage when many of the individuals lose their ability to communicate, respond to their environment, and ultimately their ability to control movement. Frequently individuals lose their capacity for recognizable speech although words or phrases may occasionally be uttered.

Individuals lose their ability to walk, stand, or sit without assistance. Reflexes become abnormal and muscles get rigid. Swallowing is impaired.