stages of dementia: planning for what’s ahead
July 11, 2022
Dementia is a devastating diagnosis for everyone in the family. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s essential to plan ahead and make sure that proper accommodations are in place.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease that typically sets in as a person enters 65 years of age. However, there are instances of early dementia that occur when a person is in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. There are several types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia from Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Pick’s disease, and others.
Early treatment and diagnosis make it possible to implement measures to slow down the progress. At some point, however, patients will go through all five stages of the condition. It’s best to prepare yourself for these five stages so you’ll know how to best care for a loved one.
RELATED ARTICLE: Know the Subtle Signs of a Heart Attack
Stages of Dementia
1. No Impairment
This is the stage where there are absolutely no symptoms, but tests can already be made to check for the DNA markers. People who have a history of dementia in the family are advised to check for these DNA markers early on so they can take measures for prevention. Note that the presence of these markers is NOT a guarantee of developing dementia. However, being aware of the genetic markers can help a person make slight changes in their lifestyle to lower the risks.
2. Mild Decline
This is the time when the symptoms start to appear. Your loved one may display slight behavioral changes and forgetfulness which can be attributed to advanced age. They will still display independence and will be able to perform all the functions necessary for day-to-day life. In most cases, the mild decline is viewed as a mild inconvenience.
3. Moderate Decline
Moderate decline can be divided into two stages: moderate and severely moderate decline. At the moderate stage, patients may have a hard time remembering newer events. It will be tough for them to make plans and travel. Severe decline is marked by signs that can no longer be ignored such as confusion over the time or day of the week or even the name of their grandkids. Assistance on day-to-day activities may become necessary such as picking clothes or doing chores.
4. Severe Decline
More intensive assistance becomes necessary at this point. Your loved one may forget the name of people they’ve known their whole life such as their spouse, children, siblings, co-workers, and so on. Severe changes in personality will become apparent and it will be difficult to deal with them. At the very late stages, dementia patients can no longer speak or walk.
RELATED ARTICLE: Understanding Dementia Causes, Types, and Diagnosis
What Families Can Do to Prepare
Patience is one of the most important things families must learn when working with a dementia patient in the household. A dementia patient will be confused and afraid which manifests into tantrums, stubbornness, and a dangerous grab for independence. Educate yourself as soon as the diagnosis has been confirmed.
Contact Embassy Healthcare for Dementia Care
You are not alone in feeling hopeless, tired, and frustrated for your loved ones diagnosed with dementia. While it might be hard to let go, allowing patients to be cared for by professionals is often the best way to show your love. Through Embassy Healthcare, you can be sure that your loved one will get 24/7 from people who will treat them kindly and with the patience of someone who understands the disease.
Call 216-378-2050 to learn more. Schedule a consultation now to help with cognitive decline in your senior relatives and friends.