Is It Really Late-Stage Alzheimer's?

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Email Question: “My husband is 84 has had AD for approx 8 years. According to Dr he is mid stage 6. Except for not remembering, his  basic skills are very good, grooming, dressing, walking, conversation. He can read anything you give him including newspapers and read aloud in context and discuss parts of what he has read. He helps in the house (cued to get him started) I almost at times think this is senility, can a person with Alzheimer’s be able to do all he does while coming down to the finish line (stage 7?)”

Well, there is technically no such thing as “senility.” When people used to say “senile,” they were really referring to dementia, but no one knew what dementia was.

This is a pretty weird case, honestly. I am not a physician, but I am wondering if the doctor was right about this. For one thing, your husband definitely doesn’t sound like he’s in a late stage of Alzheimer’s, like stage 6. I’m also wondering if he has Alzheimer’s at all, or perhaps another type of dementia. You said he’s able to take care of all of his ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and can even read and discuss parts of articles. I would really recommend taking him to a specialist, like a neurologist, to get him checked out again.

I “stage” my residents on a regular basis, and, just from what you said, I wouldn’t put him in a stage 6. It sounds like he’s more moderate, not late, dementia.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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