When a loved one begins to suffer from dementia, it is normal to feel a little nervous about the months and years to come. Spring Hills has been providing world-class senior care, including memory care, at our assisted living facilities, as well as to recipients of our home care services. With these years of experience, we’ve learned that having a greater understanding of how dementia progresses can help you know how to better care for your loved one.
The Stages of Dementia
Many doctors and caregivers break the process of dementia into seven stages, each marked by different symptoms:
(no cognitive decline)
None. At this stage, individuals function normally and are not considered to be suffering from dementia.
(very mild cognitive decline)
The normal forgetfulness usually associated with aging may occur – forgetting names and where objects were left, for example. At this stage, an individual is not yet considered to be suffering from dementia.
(mild cognitive decline)
|Increased forgetfulness and mild difficulty concentrating may occur and work performance may begin to worsen. Individuals may get lost or find it hard to find the right words to describe things. Loved ones will start to notice a cognitive decline. There may be approximately 7 years before the onset of the patient’s dementia.||If not done already, your loved one should confirm powers of attorney and estate planning.|
(moderate cognitive decline)
|Increased difficulty concentrating, impacted short-term memory, and problems managing finances or traveling alone. Individuals may display difficulty completing complex tasks properly, may show a denial about symptoms, and may withdrawal because of difficulties socializing. The doctor will detect clear cognitive issues through examination and/or interview. This stage usually lasts about 2 years.||Keep your loved one socializing, start memory care activities and staying actives.|
(moderately severe cognitive decline)
|Major memory problems will become noticeable and they will likely begin to need assistance completing activities of daily living, such as grooming, dressing, cooking. Memory loss of major events or aspects of the patient’s current life can occur, such as forgetting one’s home address or phone number. This stage lasts roughly 1.5 years.||Assistance with ADLs – either from a family member or a hired caregiver. Continued memory care activities. Home modifications for safety.|
(severe cognitive decline, or “middle dementia”)
|Individuals will begin needing extensive assistance with daily activities and they may begin to forget names of close family members. They likely will display little memory of recent events and only remember some details of their earlier life. A difficulty may be shown when doing or finishing tasks such as counting down from 10 to 1. Other signs include incontinence, difficulty speaking, delusions, compulsions, personality changes, and anxiety. This stage can last approximately 2.5 years.||Assistance with ADLs, memory care activities, sensory stimulation activities. Home care may be necessary or moving into an assisted living facility. Mental health care may also be appropriate.|
(very severe cognitive decline, or “late dementia”)
|Individuals often display an inability to speak or communicate, require assistance with almost all activities, and display a loss of psychomotor skills such as walking. This stage lasts roughly 2.5 years.||Assistance with ADLs, memory care activities, sensory stimulation activities. Home care may be necessary or moving into an assisted living facility. Mental health care may also be appropriate.|
Dementia Support from Spring Hills
You and your loved one are in good hands with Spring Hills. We have extensive experience in senior care, and our holistic approach to healing and wellness includes memory care, sensory stimulation therapy, pet therapy through our PAW program, nutritious diets, and customized exercise plans.