How long can an Alzheimer’s patient survive? A review of expert sources tells us that a person with Alzheimer’s disease can survive from three to 20 years after the first symptoms begin, with the average length being about eight years.
Individuals with Alzheimer’s progress at a different rates, and not every victim experiences every symptom or every stage. In addition, some people will plateau at a stage for a long time, while others might speed right through to the next level.
Alzheimer’s itself does not cause death, but it can be a contributing factor. The disease typically progresses to the point where the body’s organs begin to shut down. This, in turn, can cause myriad other problems. For example, some patients become bedridden. This can lead to bedsores or other potentiall deadly infections, or an illness such as pneumonia, which a patient might not be able to fight off.
An excellent resource for families and caregivers can be purchased online or in bookstores. It is “The 36-hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life,” by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins.
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