Dementia causes problems with thinking, memory, and reasoning. It happens when the parts of the brain used for learning, memory, decision-making, and language are damaged. There are seven stages of dementia that those affected go through, however every person is unique and may experience dementia differently.
Stage One: No cognitive decline. Your aging loved one functions normally, has no memory loss, and is mentally healthy. Those with NO dementia would be considered to be in Stage One.
Stage Two: Very mild decline. This stage includes normal forgetfulness associated with aging. For instance, forgetting names, birthdays and where familiar objects were left. Symptoms of dementia are not evident to the individual’s loved ones or their physician at this point.
Stage Three: Mild cognitive decline. At this stage of dementia, your loved one will experience increased forgetfulness, slight difficulty concentrating, and decreased work performance. They may get lost more often or have difficulty finding the right words. Family and close friends will start to notice a decline at this stage. Stage three can last anywhere from two to seven years.
Stage Four: Moderate decline. This stage includes difficulty concentrating on a task, decreased memory of recent events, and difficulties managing their money. They also may have a hard time traveling alone. Your loved ones will have trouble completing complex tasks well and may be in denial during this stage. Withdrawing from family or friends due to difficulty of being social is also a sign. During stage four, their physician can clearly detect cognitive problems during a patient exam. This stage can last up to two years.
Stage Five: Moderately severe cognitive decline. Your loved one may not remember his phone number or his grandchildren’s names and may be confused about the time of day or day of the week. At this point, they need assistance with some basic day-to-day functions, such as bathing, picking out clothes to wear, and preparing meals. Stage five may last up to 1.5 years.
Stage Six: Severe Cognitive decline also known as middle dementia. Your aging loved one will begin to forget the name of the people closest to them such as their spouse and have little to no memory of recent events. Early memories may still pull through at times. There is an extensive need to help with daily activities such as going to the restroom and eating. You may also see changes in his personality and emotions. Anxiety and agitation may also occur during this stage. Stage six has an average duration of 2.5 years.
Stage Seven: Very Severe Decline also known as late dementia. At this stage, your loved one has essentially no ability to communicate with you and will require assistance with most activities. Many lose their ability to walk. The last stage of dementia has a average duration of 1.5 to 2.5 years.
If someone you know needs assistance finding a place to call home for dementia patients in the Kansas City area, Cherished Transitions is here to guide you through that process. We have skilled RN’s who know what questions to ask and what to look for in a Memory Care community. Contact us to start the process.