Atlanta Center for Medical Research

The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Atlanta Center for Medical Research Resource Blog

About 5.8 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s Disease, a slow-forming disease that affects all parts of the body. It occurs when brain cells and their connections die, destroying along with them the function of the memory and other vital mental tasks.

It’s important to recognize the various stages of this disease. The sooner it’s discovered, the sooner medical management and treatment can begin.

While Alzheimer’s disease is generally broken down into three main stages (mild, moderate, and severe), here we dive further into seven different stages focused on specific symptoms.

Alzheimer’s Disease Not Yet Diagnosed

Stage One: No Cognitive Decline - At this stage in development, Alzheimer’s disease isn’t detectable unless through a PET scan. Essentially, there are no symptoms during this stage.

Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline - Those with Alzheimer’s disease in this stage begin to forget smaller things, such as where they left their keys or wallet. Usually, neither family members nor doctors are able to identify Alzheimer’s at this point, because these moments of forgetfulness are associated with growing older.

Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline - Loved ones do begin to notice changes at this point. Thinking and reasoning begin to alter. Those with the disease might be unable to remember new names, ask the same questions over and over again, can’t organize themselves, have decreased work performance, and are unable to concentrate.

Early-Stage Dementia Begins

Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline - In addition to the above-stated issues, this person will begin to experience problems with day to day life. Paying bills, traveling, cooking, and chores all become struggles. In addition, people with this stage will struggle with expressing their emotions and socialization skills.

Mid-Stage Dementia Begins

Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline - Loved ones with this stage will need help with daily living tasks, such as bathing and dressing. Their address, phone number, location, and even the time of day will be challenging to remember.

Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline - Forgetting names and confusing major people in their lives is a common occurrence for those with this stage of Alzheimer’s Disease. Speech quality will begin to decline, and other medical issues like incontinence will begin. Delusions are often a big part of this stage.

Late-Stage Dementia Begins

Stage Seven: Very Severe Cognitive Decline - As the final stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, those experiencing this will not be able to communicate nor will they be able to walk. In addition to this, they will need assistance in completing all of their daily tasks like using the restroom and eating their food.


The Atlanta Center for Medical Research is one of the largest and most respected medical research institutions in the country. Our studies impact the future of medicine and lead us closer to new discoveries to treat conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease. If you or a loved one are interested in participating in a clinical research trial for Alzheimer’s, click here to sign up and learn more.

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