Alzheimer’s aftermath

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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.

Feel free to e-mail me with questions at For more about my practice, visit

About Anthony B. Ferraro

Anthony B. Ferraro is the founder and managing member at the Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from DePaul University and his Master of Science in taxation. After receiving his CPA designation in 1978, he enrolled in law school, earning his Juris Doctor in 1983 from De Paul University. An elder law practitioner, his practice areas include Medicaid planning and applications, guardianship, probate & trust administration, long-term care planning, nursing home contracts and admission, senior estate planning, special needs planning, estate planning, and estate taxation.

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