Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate. This seven-stage framework is based on a system developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.
Stage 1: No impairment (normal function)
The person does not experience any memory problems. An interview with a medical professional does not show any evidence of symptoms of dementia.
Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline (may be normal age-related changes or earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease)
The person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses — forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects. But no symptoms of dementia can be detected during a medical examination or by friends, family or co-workers.
Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline (early-stage Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed in some, but not all, individuals with these symptoms)
Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice difficulties. During a detailed medical interview, doctors may be able to detect problems in memory or concentration.
Common stage 3 difficulties include:
- Noticeable problems coming up with the right word or name
- Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
- Having noticeably greater difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings Forgetting material that one has just read
- Losing or misplacing a valuable object
- Increasing trouble with planning or organizing