What Are the Different Stages of Dementia and How Does It Progress?
Dementia, a neurocognitive condition in which cognitive function declines beyond what is considered usual for a person’s biological age, is a growing problem in our society. Worldwide, there are over 55 million people living with this condition, and almost 10 million people are diagnosed with it every year. Currently, it is considered the seventh leading cause of death and a major contributor to both disability and dependency among older adults.
While it typically doesn’t affect consciousness, dementia has widespread impacts on one’s social, psychological, and physical wellbeing. It is progressive in nature, gradually affecting thinking processes ranging from memory and comprehension to learning capacity, judgement, and ability to calculate. Various diseases and causes can contribute to the onset and progression of dementia, including strokes, heart disease, alcoholism, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
While there is no way to cure dementia at present, there are many ways to gain the kind of care and support that can make living with dementia easier for both those experiencing the disease and their families. The first step toward getting your loved one the right resources is to recognize the stages of dementia.
The Stages of Dementia: What You Need to Know
There are seven distinct stages of dementia although not everyone with dementia will experience every one of them, since they depend on the type of dementia and the area of the brain affected. In general, dementia presents as follows:
Stage 1: No Impairment
At this stage, there may be no noticeable symptoms. Typically, dementia caught at this stage is diagnosed when issues show up on routine tests.
Stage 2: Very Mild Decline
There are some changes in the ability to reason and “think straight” at this stage, but the individual will still be very independent and able to handle daily tasks.
Stage 3: Mild Decline
There will be an increase in problems with reasoning and thinking, and the individual may tell repetitive stories or ask repetitive questions. Recent events will become more difficult to remember.
Stage 4: Moderate Decline
At this stage, making plans and remembering will be extremely challenging, as will handling money, paying bills, and traveling outside the home.
Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline
Confusion over time of day or calendar dates is common at this stage. Details like the names of relatives or phone numbers will be hard to recall. They may even have difficulty picking out appropriate clothing and handling activities of daily living (ADLs).
Stage 6: Severe Decline
At this stage, a person experiencing dementia may forget even close friends and family members such as a spouse or sibling. They may have problems toileting and even feeding themselves, and there may be marked changes in their personality and moods.
Stage 7: Very Severe Decline
Finally, the individual will be unable to communicate, and mobility will be severely restricted. They may spend most of their time sleeping.
People with dementia will progress through these stages at different rates, each showing various symptoms. If you think your loved one may be experiencing the onset of dementia, it is important to speak with a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis will help you make better plans for the future to assist your loved one in living their best life as they age. It is important to remember that there are many ways to make life more enriching and fulfilling for people with dementia.
Enriching the Lives of Those with Dementia
A happy, fulfilling life does not have to end with a dementia diagnosis, as long as your loved one has the proper environment. Environments that emphasize gradually increasing care levels as residents require them can help provide the stimulation, enrichment, and comfort that can help them lead joyous, fulfilling lives.
Bedrooms should be comfortable and quiet, with bathrooms that make it safer and easier for someone with dementia to maintain independence and dignity for as long as possible. Noise levels should be reduced in a facility that manages residents with dementia, as noise is often distressing for them. In addition, there should be access to educational, social, and entertainment activities that can help people with dementia stay engaged, informed, and positive.
Brickyard Healthcare — Specialized Care for Individuals with Dementia
At Brickyard Healthcare we focus on ensuring our residents receive the right level of care at every stage of their lives. From personalized nursing care around the clock to care plans that help optimize independence, our knowledgeable staff has the tools and technology to help your loved one with dementia live an exceptional life. Besides state-of-the-art medical care, we offer socialization opportunities and enriching activities to support engagement and a feeling of belonging, as well as tools that help meet their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs along the way.
If your loved one is living with dementia, Brickyard Healthcare can offer not only innovative treatments and nursing care, but a comforting, long-term care environment that centers around helping them live their best lives. Please call us at 855-855-8113 or contact us here to learn more.