What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia?
The conditions or symptoms of dementia tend to vary greatly between each patient but always worsen over time. As the symptoms of dementia progress, they become more noticeable and have a bigger impact on the patient’s life. To better understand what to expect, the progression of dementia has been organized into seven stages which make up four distinct categories:
- No Dementia (Stages 1-3)
- Mild, or Early-Stage (Stage 4)
- Moderate, or Middle-Stage (Stages 5 & 6)
- Severe, or Late-Stage (Stage &)
Symptoms will not always appear in the normal stage, they may start sooner or later than usual and some symptoms may appear and then disappear. The seven stages do, however, help to give caregivers a better idea of what to expect and how best to assist their patient.
First Stage of Dementia – No Noticeable Signs
There are no signs or symptoms of dementia and the individual functions normally.
Symptoms begin to surface but are often overlooked. They include the usual forgetfulness and mild cognitive decline that’s associated with aging.
At this stage, the symptoms start to become noticeable to family and loved ones. They include forgetfulness, decreased work performance, difficulty focusing or driving.
Stage 4 – Early Stage Dementia
This stage tends to last about 2 years and is associated with moderate cognitive decline. The symptoms include: misplacing items, losing track of the time, date, or day of the week, trouble remembering names, forgetting recent conversations or memories, loss of interest in people or activities. At this stage, the patient may have difficulty traveling alone or managing finances.
Stage 5 – Mid-Stage Dementia
Stages 5 and 6 tend to last an average of 4 years. At this stage, the patient will likely need assistance with the activities of daily living. The signs and symptoms of dementia will be more pronounced and easy to notice.
As the disease progresses further and the patient enters stage 6 of dementia, they will begin to forget the names of close loved ones and friends. Communication will become very difficult and they may suffer from delusions. Symptoms include difficulty with perception, increased irritability and aggression, wandering and becoming lost, confusing day and night, inability to recall personal history, phone number, or address.
Stage 7 – Late Stage Dementia
The final stage, and category, shows severe signs and symptoms of dementia. Completing even the most basic tasks often require assistance. The patient may have difficulty eating or swallowing. They may lose all ability to communicate or complete any activities of daily living without assistance. At this stage, caregivers tend to focus on providing comfort and quality of life.
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