The advanced stages of Alzheimer's can be the most difficult and scary for patients and family. To understand why, you need to look at the symptoms of latest stages of the disease. These are just five of the symptoms.
Loss of Communication
The lack of ability to communicate effectively is also known as aphasia. It is one of the most common symptoms in Alzheimer's patients. As people suffering from Alzheimer's disease progress through the stages of Alzheimer's, they will slowly lose the ability to find the words they want to use and then to be able to think of words all together. They may also have trouble understanding words that other people use. In the most advanced stage of Alzheimer's, both of these deficits can result in little to no speech what so ever.
Loss of Physical Abilities
The most severe loss of physical abilities is seen in the advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease. Losing the capability to perform physical tasks that were once known is called apraxia. Motor tasks can be something as difficult as threading a needle or as simple as walking and swallowing. In the latest stage of Alzheimer's the most basic motor functions may completely disappear, leaving the patient unable to walk or eat without the assistance of medical care. With the loss of these simple skills in advanced Alzheimer's, most caregivers must turn over patient care to a medically equipped facility.
Loss of Ability to Interpret Signals
If you could not understand the signals your body was giving your brain you would have something called agnosia. This is what all late-stage Alzheimer's patients have. The result of this communication interruption in the brain could be: not recognizing a family member, not knowing when to urinate or becoming lost in a familiar setting.
Someone experiencing the full effects of the disease in late-stage Alzheimer's may seem to be a completely different person at times. They may react uncharacteristically, such as becoming angry or sad in a moment that should not provoke anger or sadness. Personality changes can become very frequent or even permanent in advanced stages.
Changes in how a person acts can be directly connected to the same reasons for the changes in personality. These are typically a result of psychiatric ailments like: hallucinations, delusions or depression. A patient may have outbursts of yelling, become violent or withdraw into isolation.