Alzheimer’s disease is typically referred to in three stages. Early, middle and late stage. Many people are familiar with the early (or mild) and the late (or severe) stages, but not sure what to expect from the middle stage.
Moderate, or middle stage, Alzheimer’s is generally the longest stage of the disease with some living in the stage for several years.
As the disease progresses family members and caregivers may notice behaviors such as:
- Needing assistance performing daily tasks such as bathing or dressing
- Difficulty following a conversation or remembering details about what day it is or their family history
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Behavior or more frequent mood changes including becoming agitated, suspicious of others
- Changes in sleep patterns such as wanting to sleep more during the day, and difficulty sleeping at night
Safety concerns become an issue at this stage and caregivers or loved ones may have to initiate tough conversations. Taking away car keys, moving in with family members or hiring around the clock care for example. Wandering, a typical Alzheimer’s behavior, may appear and should be taken as a serious safety concern.
Caring For Someone In Middle Stage Alzheimer’s
Caring for someone at this stage becomes increasingly demanding. As the disease progresses caregivers become responsible for day-to-day tasks such as helping the person get dressed, grooming, shopping, meals, household chores, transportation, keeping them occupied and much more.
Many caregivers become so busy taking care of their loved one they start to ignore their own needs such as not getting enough sleep, not exercising, not socializing with friends, or taking the breaks they need. To be a good caregiver you need time away and shouldn’t feel guilty about asking trusted friends, neighbors or even hiring help on a regular basis to give you a break.
If you haven’t already, develop a daily schedule and try to stick to it the best you can. Life with Alzheimer’s often comes with surprises, but having a routine helps makes sense of the day and can provide reassurance to your loved one. Each day should also include activities that provide a sense of purpose and can be adapted to the person’s abilities or mood.
Activities such as taking a walk, working in the garden, listening to music, sorting playing cards, clipping coupons or folding laundry are ideas.