The Roadmap of Dementia: Understanding the 7 Stages of Dementia

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Dementia is a term which is used to describe a decay of mental ability due to disease or injury. It can have an effect on your memory, language, judgment, and other cognitive abilities.

There are 7 stages of dementia, with its own set of symptoms. These stages range from minor to severe.

Knowing about the stages of dementia can help you understand the condition and what it entails. It can also help you identify early caution and seek treatment earlier. If you or a loved one has dementia, continue reading to learn more about the 7 stages of the condition.

What is Dementia?

Let’s start from the beginning. Dementia is an impairment of intellectual capacity i.e. the capacity to hold information, think logically, and purposely. Dementia along with memory loss normally limit an individual’s capacity to function with comfort and safety in everyday life. 

Dementia may render tasks of daily life a bit difficult. Loss of memory, declined linguistic abilities, trouble in problem-solving, incapacity to manage oneself, and attention loss are some of the signs of the disease. Your family might distinguish slight variations in your loved one’s emotional management. As their personality changes, they may seem to be strangers. More obvious changes may contain pulling away from social activities, missing to take their medicines, or unable to pay their expenditures.

Loss of memory is not a common characteristic of the aging process. It is not a natural factor of old age. Remembering and recalling may decline with age (which is natural), but brain power remains constant.

Failing to recall things from time to time is trivial, and these minor memory delays are often known as “senior moments” as they have negligible effect on daily activities. Dementia, on the contrary, is a totally different experience that entails more obvious obliviousness.

What are the 7 Stages of Dementia?

While there is no universal method to managing dementia, doctors have recognized seven stages of the condition. We can better prepare ourselves for the obstacles that lie ahead and offer the utmost care for your loved ones if you are aware of the 7 stages of dementia.

1. No Cognitive/Mental Impairment

Due to the low occurrence of cognitive impairment, the GDS categorizes stages 1, 2, and 3 as pre-dementia. Stage 1 dementia, dissimilar to prevalent belief, is characterized by regular mental action with no sign of impairment. Mild changes in behavior are common throughout these three stages, but these are inadequate to make a final diagnosis.

2. Very Mild Cognitive Deterioration

This stage has quite a prevalence among the elderly, the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) refers to the second stage of dementia as “age-related memory impairment.” This kind encompasses minor blunders like disremembering topics of discussion and losing belongings, though only 1% of people develop dementia annually.

3. Mild Cognitive Deterioration

Mild Cognitive Impairment, also referred to as moderate cognitive decline, is a state that happens when intellectual and memory complications become more rampant and apparent. Daily working is usually unaffected during the third stage of dementia period. 

Mild cognitive deterioration typifies stage 3 dementia. Missing schedules, losing and being unable to put your hands on goods, trouble with problem-solving and complex activities, getting lost while traveling, reduced performance, verbal replication, struggling to find the proper words, and issues while driving are all signs.

4. Moderate Cognitive Deterioration

Stage 4 of dementia as per the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) specifies a substantial decline in intellectual functions and palpable hints of dementia. This stage is currently known as “Moderate dementia,” however it is not managed until level 4 or after that.

Typical symptoms are fading linguistic abilities, reduced problem-solving skill, and major changes in personality. Due to the obvious expression of these symptoms, caregivers and medical experts will be able to determine if a person’s illness is waning further.

5. Moderately Severe Cognitive Deterioration

Many experts believe this to be the central stage of the dementia process. During this stage, a patient may face difficulty in conducting everyday activities such as dressing and bathing self-reliantly, often known as “instrumental activities of daily living. This period may last between two and four years, though each situation is different.

Symptoms are severe memory loss, diminished thinking abilities, and difficulties with holding data, as well as straying, perplexity and forgetfulness, uncertainty, and sundown syndrome as well as further impaired mental sharpness and problem-solving abilities.

6. Severe Cognitive Deterioration

Stage 6 of dementia is characterized by weakened ability to do fundamental daily tasks, which normally need the help of a caregiver. Symptoms might include difficulty in sleeping and regulating behavior in public places. 

To prepare for the possibility of needing full-time care, it is vital to note down symptoms, evaluate skills in doing ADLs and IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living), and study practical solutions such as memory care or home care.

7. Very Severe Cognitive Deterioration

People in stage 7 of dementia, which resembles to late-stage dementia, are incapable of taking care of themselves. Generally, persons with severe dementia lose all verbal capacity and have limited mobility. Late-onset dementia symptoms impair basic routines such as chewing, swallowing, and breathing.

Among the signs and symptoms are powerlessness to talk, failure to move without assistance, and impaired physiological functioning.

How Long Do Persons Suffering From Dementia Live?

The period of a person’s life suffering from 7 stages of dementia is determined by many factors, such as the type and rigorousness of their disease. People should expect to stay alive for four to eight years after the diagnosis. However, some people can live for up to 20 years.

The Alzheimer’s Society states the average lifespan for individuals with different dementias:

– Alzheimer’s disease: 8 – 10 years 

– Vascular Dementia: 5 years (due to exterior risk factors, such as stroke or heart attack). 

– Lewy body dementia: 6 years (due to increased threat of injuries and infections). 

– Frontotemporal dementia: 6 – 8 years.

Final Words - Stages of Dementia

Caring for a loved one suffering from any of the 7 stages of dementia can be a tough responsibility. It’s important to stay updated on the latest treatments and care measures. Setting up alerts on Google and joining seminars are excellent methods to remain updated on potential innovations in care.

Also, there are several caregiver support groups, both virtual and in person that can offer you with dynamic fellowship. You are not alone; use these tools to assist enhance the life of a loved one!

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