7 Stages of Dementia
One of the most troubling issues surrounding dementia is the fact that it is often incurable and irreversible. Yet with early diagnosis and proper care, some forms of dementia can be slowed in their progression. At Main Line Adult Day Center, we focus on helping families find the best care for their loved ones. Our quick fact sheet on the 7 stages of dementia is here to help you navigate the challenging world of dementia as it affects your loved one.
The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia is not immediate. Instead, the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct and identifiable stages. Learning more about these stages can help you identify early symptoms more quickly. It can also help someone who is suffering better understand his or her condition.
Stage 1: No cognitive decline
At this stage, most people are still at a normally functioning level. There are usually no signs of cognitive impairment or memory loss.
Stage 2: Age-associated memory impairment
This stage is seen most frequently through behaviors such as placing an object and forgetting where it is and forgetting names that were once familiar. This stage usually represents a mild decline in memory that is associated with aging.
Stage 3: Mild cognitive impairment
Clear cognitive issues begin the present themselves in this stage. A few tell-tale signs are getting easily lost, performing poorly at work, forgetting family members’ names and having difficulty retaining information read in a book
Stage 4: Mild dementia
At this stage, many people begin to become socially withdrawn. They might have changes in their moods or personalities, too. They might deny their symptoms, as well. People in this stage might also show a decreased knowledge of current events, difficulty remembering their own personal history, decreased ability to handle personal finance and difficulty recognizing faces.
Stage 5: Moderate dementia
Stage 5 dementia patients need assistance with daily routines. They often have difficulty remembering major details, such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Many patients at this stage become disoriented about time and place. They also have trouble making decisions and they forget basic information about themselves, such as their telephone number or their address.
Stage 6: Moderately severe dementia
When a person begins forgetting the names of his or her children or spouse, then this is likely an indicator of stage 6 dementia. At this stage, most people require full-time care. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for delusional behavior, anxiety, aggression and loss of willpower.
Stage 7: Severe dementia
At this stage, people usually experience a loss of motor skill as well as a loss in the ability to speak. In this stage, the brain loses its connection with the body and loved ones will need to help with eating, walking and using the bathroom.
Knowing about each stage of dementia can help you care for a loved one who might be going through this struggle. With the right information and preparation, you can become more comfortable dealing with the complexities of each stage and learn how to best make your loved one feel more at ease.