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The Stages of Dementia: What you Need to Know to Care for Your Loved One

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, one of the first questions you may want to ask is, “What stage is it?” Knowing the stages of dementia can help you to cope with the disease and be as supportive as possible to your aging relative.

It’s important to prepare yourself and your family members for how quickly the effects of dementia can start to change your aging loved one. Additionally, it will provide you with a rough timeline for what kind of care your parent or relative may need along the way.

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The Stages of Dementia

Stage 1: No Impairment

While this may not seem like a “stage” of dementia, the first signs of dementia begin with showing no symptoms at all. This is why it can be hard to spot the disorder right away. No mental or cognitive impairments are existent, nor are any other symptoms associated with dementia.

Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Impairment

Forgetting things like where keys are placed or someone’s name can also be deceiving, as these can be normal signs of aging – as well as the second stage of dementia. Again, this stage is difficult because age-related forgetfulness is completely normal.

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment

It’s not until the cognitive issues become more apparent to caregivers and family members that we enter into stage 3 of dementia. While seniors are usually still able to perform regular activities, they may suffer from other symptoms such as:

• Memory loss
• Confusion with complex tasks, like driving
• Trouble with concentration
• Repetition
• Issues with managing finances and money

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Impairment

The symptoms of stage 4 seemingly build upon those in stage 3, and also include:
• Incontinence
• Trouble with finishing sentences or finding the right word
• Increasing memory loss
• Emotional or social withdrawal

Additionally, your loved one may start to have difficulty with performing daily tasks, such as laundry or light household chores at this stage.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Impairment

At stage 5 in the progress of dementia, seniors may begin to have difficulty with dressing, bathing, and other normal activities. This is considered the mid-point of the syndrome, where assistance may be needed around the clock.

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Impairment

Depending on the diagnosis, stage 6 is also considered moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors will need help with personal hygiene routines, dressing themselves, and general supervision. They also may experience hallucinations, paranoia, and can become unable to recognize familiar places and family members.

Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Impairment

At the last stage of dementia, also considered severe Alzheimer’s, the person suffering is likely unable to walk, speak, or use motor skills. He or she may need help eating, and may lose control over urination and/or muscles.

If your aging loved one is showing early signs of dementia, it’s important to know what’s next in order to find the help that he or she needs. If you are considering home care as an option, please feel free to contact us at WellSprings Home Care, and we will be happy to take the next steps with you. Book a Free Consultation today!

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