top of page

Alzheimer's at Grace Health Services in Stafford, Ruther Glen, VA and Washington, DC.

Alzheimer’s disease causes a decline in memory, thinking, learning and organizing skills over time. It’s the most common cause of dementia and usually affects people over the age of 65. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, but certain medications and therapies can help manage symptoms temporarily.


Understanding Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder, is marked by brain degeneration and cell death, leading to shrinking brain size. It's the most prevalent cause of dementia, characterized by a decline in memory, thinking, and social skills, impacting the ability to function. In the U.S., about 6.5 million people aged 65 and older have Alzheimer's, with the majority being over 75. Globally, Alzheimer's accounts for 60%-70% of around 55 million dementia cases. Early symptoms include forgetfulness, escalating to severe memory loss and inability to perform daily tasks. While there's no cure, treatments can manage or slow symptoms. In advanced stages, complications like dehydration can be fatal.

Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

The progression of Alzheimer's varies among individuals but generally follows a pattern of worsening symptoms over time. The stages include:

  • Preclinical Alzheimer's: No symptoms but changes in the brain.

  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): Minor decline in mental abilities.

  • Mild Dementia: Noticeable memory issues and difficulty in complex tasks.

  • Moderate Dementia: Increased memory loss and confusion, requiring more care.

  • Severe Dementia: Extensive care needed due to significant memory loss and lack of awareness.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's


Over time, memory loss affects the ability to function at work or at home.

People with Alzheimer's disease may:

  • Repeat statements and questions over and over.

  • Forget conversations, appointments or events.

  • Misplace items, often putting them in places that don't make sense.

  • Get lost in places they used to know well.

  • Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects.

  • Have trouble finding the right words for objects, expressing thoughts or taking part in conversations.

Changes in personality and behavior

Brain changes that occur in Alzheimer's disease can affect moods and behaviors. Problems may include the following:

  • Depression.

  • Loss of interest in activities.

  • Social withdrawal.

  • Mood swings.

  • Distrust in others.

  • Anger or aggression.

  • Changes in sleeping habits.

  • Wandering.

  • Loss of inhibitions.

  • Delusions, such as believing something has been stolen.

Thinking and reasoning

Alzheimer's disease causes difficulty concentrating and thinking, especially about abstract concepts such as numbers.

Doing more than one task at once is especially difficult. It may be challenging to manage finances, balance checkbooks and pay bills on time. Eventually, a person with Alzheimer's disease may be unable to recognize and deal with numbers.

Making judgments and decisions

Alzheimer's disease causes a decline in the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments in everyday situations. For example, a person may make poor choices in social settings or wear clothes for the wrong type of weather. It may become harder for someone to respond to everyday problems. For example, the person may not know how to handle food burning on the stove or decisions when driving.

Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Early signs include difficulty remembering recent events or conversations. But memory gets worse and other symptoms develop as the disease progresses.

Brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease lead to growing trouble with:

  • Age
    As the most significant risk factor, age plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's development. While not a normal part of aging, the likelihood of Alzheimer's increases with age, particularly after 65.

  • Family History and Genetics
    Genetics, especially the APOE e4 gene, can elevate Alzheimer's risk. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimer's also raises the likelihood, although specific genetic mechanisms remain complex.

  • Down Syndrome
    Individuals with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of Alzheimer's, possibly due to the extra chromosome 21, which is linked to beta-amyloid production.

  • Gender
    More women are affected by Alzheimer's, likely due to their longer life expectancy.

  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
    MCI, characterized by memory or cognitive decline beyond what's expected for one's age, significantly increases the risk of progressing to Alzheimer's.

  • Head Trauma
    Traumatic brain injuries, especially in older adults, are associated with a heightened risk of Alzheimer's.

  • Environmental Factors
    Exposure to air pollution, particularly traffic exhaust and wood smoke, may increase dementia risk.

  • Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Health
    Lifestyle factors like lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes are linked to an elevated risk of Alzheimer's. Healthy lifestyle changes can potentially reduce this risk.

Alzheimer's Disease: Risk Factors

Psychiatry Practices

For managing Alzheimer's, it's often advisable to combine medication with psychiatric evaluations. Our team ensures a personalized treatment strategy aligning with your unique symptoms and requirements. Continuous monitoring of your progress and symptoms is an integral part of this treatment, allowing us to fine-tune medication doses and frequency for optimal results.


Also known as Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy), talk therapy is an effective option for a number of different symptoms and conditions, including Alzheimer's. Talk therapy can take many different forms, so you and your therapist can work to find the best option for your specific situation, condition, and symptoms. Talk therapy can be used in combination with medication and other forms of treatment, if needed.

​Treatments for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Let’s get you the care you deserve!

​Our certified providers at Grace Health Services in VA & D.C. are dedicated to understanding and treating a variety of mental health challenges. Drawing from both modern research and years of hands-on experience, we aim to provide nothing but the finest care from the moment of diagnosis.

bottom of page