Alzheimer’s disease along with other forms of dementia profoundly affect those diagnosed and those closest to them. When someone in your family has been diagnosed with dementia, various responsibilities must be assumed by their family members. Sons and daughters of people with dementia may become caregivers, and husbands and wives of people with dementia may see their roles shift. They frequently assume the primary caregiver role.
Let’s take a look at the stages of dementia that an individual may experience.
Stages of Dementia
Some symptoms may appear later than others, in a different order than expected or not at all in some cases. Some symptoms may appear briefly before disappearing, while others may get worse as time goes on. Because everyone is different and dementia manifests differently, the rate at which dementia progresses varies significantly. The stages of dementia are as follows:
Stage 1: – No Visible Signs of Dementia
There are no symptoms or signs of dementia; therefore, they have not been diagnosed.
Stage 2 – Slight Cognitive Decline
There is normal forgetfulness at this stage, which is often attributed to typical signs of aging. At this point, caregivers may notice some forgetfulness, but dementia symptoms are still not visible to medical professionals or loved ones. Caregiving at this stage entails striking a balance between independence and assistance. It is better to assume that your loved one is able to complete daily tasks on their own, unless their safety is at risk.
Stage 3 – Mild Cognitive Impairment
Loved ones may notice signs of cognitive decline at this point, such as increased forgetfulness, poor work performance, speech difficulties and difficulty concentrating on daily tasks. To diagnose and intervene early, caregivers must recognize the signs of this stage, also known as mild cognitive impairment.
Stage 4 – Early Stages of Dementia
People with early onset Dementia will likely forget recent events, struggle to concentrate and have difficulty managing their finances. They may also find it challenging to socialize and isolate themselves from those they love the most. At this stage, caregivers should make a conscious effort to actively engage the dementia patient. Caregivers will take a more active role in this and subsequent steps. To provide an appropriate level of care, caregivers should create a daily plan, make needed schedule adjustments and seek support from other caregivers.
Stage 5 – Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
A person with moderately severe dementia requires assistance to complete daily activities. At this point, the signs of dementia will be undeniable. Confusion and forgetfulness will become more prominent during daily activities as short-term memory is primarily lost.
Stage 6 – Severe Cognitive Decline
A person with this stage of dementia may forget close relatives’ names and have little recollection of recent events. As a result of the severe cognitive decline, your loved one could experience compulsion, agitation, delusions and anxiety.
Stage 7 – Very Severe Cognitive Impairment
The most severe type of cognitive decline. Most people in this stage cannot speak or communicate and most activities, such as walking, require assistance. During this time, caregivers will focus on providing comfort and a high-quality of life. Your care options may exceed what you believe you can provide at home because round-the-clock care will be required.
Although each person’s disease progresses differently, family members and caregivers should be familiar with the disease’s typical stages. For both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and those who love them, it’s a difficult road to travel, but knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty.
If you are seeking a higher level of care for your loved one, we are opening a Memory Enhancement Unit in the summer of 2021. Email Zdubin@holpalms.com today to learn more and apply.