Be Prepared for These 5 Developments During Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and it is often classified into several stages. These stages are simply known as Early stage, Mid-stage, and Late stage. Sometimes these stages are broken down even further. None of the stages have a specific time length, and the time spent within each stage will vary by individual. Regardless, the middle stage is perhaps the fastest-moving stage. iStock_000000295105_L1

Middle stage Alzheimer’s disease can be a very frightening time for both the caregiver and the patient. The loved one slips further into the disease, and behavior and cognitive changes are much more apparent than in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Depression, delusions, and anxiety appear at virtually any stage, but those symptoms will likely increase in mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the time, these symptoms will continue to persist once they appear for the first time. In addition, caregivers will often notice the following developments during middle-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

 The loved one will need more help with their basic needs.

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses into the middle stage, loved ones will need increasing assistance with daily activities. For example, the patient may need help making simple daily decisions, like ordering from a menu or choosing what to wear. They may need help getting dressed and will likely need reminders to take medication.

Stories and questions will often be repeated.

Repeating stories and questions was likely already taking place, but the frequency will increase as the patient’s condition progresses. Questions and stories may even been repeated within minutes of one another, instead of just several times a day as in the early stages. They will often repeat behaviors as well.

Recent memories will fade.

The patient may not remember what took place yesterday, and they will forget who has visited them and when. Some family members may even receive heart-breaking questions like why they never visit, even though they visit every day. Patients may confuse distant memories with recent events.

General confusion increases.

The patient will increasingly ask where they are, or what they should be doing. They may not recognize their surroundings, even in their own home. Memories of loved ones and caretakers will fade as well. They will occasionally be unable to identify good friends and relatives that they do not see often.

The loved one may become less inhibited.

As the disease progresses, patients may be unable to differentiate between public and private behavior. For example, the patient may begin undressing when he or she has visitors simply because they are uncomfortable. The loved one is not aware of their behavior like they once were, so he or she does not understand that their behavior is inappropriate for the circumstances.

Caring for a loved one with mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease will quickly become increasingly difficult because of the rapid changes that occur during this stage. Caregivers who are prepared for these symptoms tend to fair better when dealing with the disease. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit

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Hart, D.J., et al. A retrospective study of the behavioural and psychological symptoms of mid and late phase Alzheimer’s disease. International J. of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2003; Nov.; 18(11): 1037-1042.

Mayeux, R. & Sano, M. Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. The New England J. of Medicine. 1999; Nov.; 341(22): 1670-1679.

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