The symptoms of dementia tend to worsen over time. Even though each person with dementia is different, their seven stages always happen in the same order. There are new symptoms that appear or old ones that worsen with each stage of dementia. Dementia gets worse in stages and phases, and being aware of these changes can help you decide if you need to change how you care for a loved one.
In the United States, millions of people are living with dementia. Dementia comes in various forms, some of which are more known than others. While dementia comes in a wide range of symptoms and degrees of severity, we can help you pinpoint the average course of the disease. Here are the seven stages of dementia to keep in mind if you or a loved one is experiencing any of the early symptoms:
Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline
The first stage is invisible to the affected person, their loved ones, and medical professionals. There is no sign of cognitive impairment or cognitive decline at this point.
Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Mild amnesia is one possible effect of stage two, among other subtle changes. Some signs of this problem are forgetting people's names or being unable to find familiar things. The second stage of dementia makes it almost impossible to notice these minor signs, so a diagnosis is still impossible.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline
Mild cognitive impairment characterizes Stage 3. In stage three of dementia, the person's loved ones may begin to notice the symptoms, and a diagnosis may be close at hand. This phase is expected to have mild amnesia, lapses in memory that are out of character, and a minor slowing of attention span.
Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline
By the fourth stage of dementia, when a decline in thinking skills can be seen during an exam, the condition is often diagnosed officially. Memory loss that gets in the way of daily life and unusual trouble with everyday tasks are expected at this stage. Stage four dementia patients may find it more difficult to handle money or find their way around unfamiliar places.
Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
The cognitive decline in stage five is moderate to severe. People at this stage typically have significant memory loss and start having trouble with basic daily living tasks. Stage five dementia patients often require help with daily activities like cooking and bathing and may have trouble remembering important information like their home or phone number.
Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage six patients require intensive assistance to function normally. In stage six of dementia, memory loss is terrible, and many people can only remember their earliest memories. Many patients also lose communication at this point, and incontinence is a common symptom. A change in personality may happen during this time, which usually lasts about 2.5 years.
Stage 7: Deterioration of Cognitive Abilities to a Severe Degree
Stage seven has severe cognitive decline that lasts an average of 1.5 to 2.5 years. Many patients in stage seven cannot move and have lost their communication abilities. Those with late-stage dementia need help with nearly every aspect of their lives and may require constant care.
To Wrap Up
Even while Alzheimer's disease is by far the most common kind of dementia, there are many others, including Lewy body dementia. Lewy body dementia differs significantly in that its symptoms might vary widely daily. There are beginning, middle, and ending phases.