Skip to content

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease -- Symptoms

Moderate Alzheimer's

The moderate stage of Alzheimer's typically lasts from two to 10 years. In this stage, memory loss becomes worse and disrupts daily life.

The person with Alzheimer's may lose a sense of his or her own personal history. Or he or she may not recognize or remember family members and friends. The person may also forget where he or she leaves things and be unable to retrace his or her steps.

Other symptoms of moderate Alzheimer's may include:

  • Rambling speech
  • Trouble coming up with correct words or phrases for familiar concepts and using inappropriate words when trying to communicate
  • Trouble with planning or solving problems
  • Becoming confused about time or place; a person with Alzheimer's may become lost in places he or she has often been to and should be familiar with. In addition, the person may not know how or why he or she got to that place.
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Wandering
  • Having delusions

People with moderate Alzheimer's may also experience these symptoms:

  • Not dressing for the weather
  • Poor judgment and inappropriate behavior and actions
  • More problems with mobility and coordination
  • Growing awareness of a loss of control, which can lead to increasing episodes of depression
  • Aggressiveness


Severe Alzheimer's

The third stage, known as severe Alzheimer's, is also known as late Alzheimer's. It typically lasts one to three years.

It may include these symptoms:

  • Major confusion about past and present
  • Inability to communicate, remember, or process information, along with a loss of language capabilities
  • Problems with swallowing, incontinence, and bowel control
  • Weight loss, seizures, skin infections, and other illnesses
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Hallucinations and delirium
  • Immobility


How Do the Symptoms of Alzheimer's Differ From Normal Aging?

It's common for people to develop minor memory glitches as they age. The fact that someone temporarily forgets a name or why they walked into the kitchen doesn't mean they have Alzheimer's. With aging, those types of problems are usually temporary or insignificant. But with Alzheimer's, the forgotten name or lost term may never come back.

It's rare, though, for Alzheimer's to cause sudden deterioration.

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
senior man
daughter and father
Making Diagnosis
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression