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Are There Stages Of Dementia

Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

What are the stages of dementia?

Stage five is marked by moderately severe cognitive decline. Individuals in this stage often have notable memory loss and begin to struggle with daily activities. Significant details such as address or phone number may be difficult to recall, and those with stage five dementia will likely need assistance with tasks such as meal preparation and bathing.

What Is The Final Stage Of Vascular Dementia

While there are no defined stages of vascular dementia, the disease does eventually end with death, explains the Alzheimers Association. As with other forms of dementia, vascular dementia shortens a persons life expectancy. Research suggests that a person who develops dementia as a result of a stroke lives for three years on average. Cognitive changes occasionally improve as the brain reproduces new cells and blood vessels that establish new roles.

Vascular dementia, the result of conditions that limit blood flow to the brain, can range from mild to severe in its impact on thinking skills, notes the Alzheimers Association. Symptoms of vascular dementia that immediately follow a stroke may include a loss of vision, disorientation, confusion, and a difficulty speaking or understanding speech. Depending on where blood flow is reduced, memory loss may or may not occur. These symptoms often coincide with other notable signs of a stroke, such as headaches and paralysis on one side of the body.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications for treatment of vascular dementia, as of 2015. Treatment generally involves lessening the risk factors for further damage to the brains blood vessels, claims the Alzheimers Association. Some suggestions include avoiding smoking and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, establishing a well-balanced diet, exercising, and keeping blood pressure within the recommended levels.

The Seven Stages Of Dementia

One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.

Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.

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Scales For Rating Dementia

Rather than simply using early stage,middle-stage, and late-stage dementia as descriptors, there are scales that provide a more comprehensive description. These scales help better understand the different stages of Alzheimers disease based on how well a person thinks and functions . These scales are the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia, the Functional Assessment Staging Test, and the Clinical Dementia Rating.

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Global Deterioration Scale / Reisberg Scale

The most commonly used scale is often referred to simply as GDS, or by its more formal name, the Reisberg Scale . The GDS divides into seven stages based on the amount of cognitive decline. This test is most relevant for people who have Alzheimers disease because some other types of dementia do not always include memory loss.

Someone in stages 1-3 does not typically exhibit enough symptoms for a dementia diagnosis. By the time a diagnosis has been made, a dementia patient is typically in stage 4 or beyond. Stage 4 is considered early dementia, stages 5 and 6 are considered middle dementia, and stage 7 is considered late dementia.

Global Deterioration Scale / Reisberg Scale
Diagnosis

Clinical Dementia Rating

Clinical Dementia Rating Scale
Stage
Average duration is 1 year to 2.5 years.

How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia

Seven Stages of Dementia

Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.

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Disproportionate Impact On Women

Globally, dementia has a disproportionate impact on women. Sixty-five percent of total deaths due to dementia are women, and disability-adjusted life years due to dementia are roughly 60% higher in women than in men. Additionally, women provide the majority of informal care for people living with dementia, accounting for 70% of carer hours.

Who Is At Risk For Vascular Dementia

Some risk factors for vascular dementia can be managed others, like age and gender, cannot. Among all factors, high blood pressure carries the greatest risk vascular dementia almost never occurs without it.

Likewise, a high risk of stroke goes hand in hand with risk for vascular dementia. One-quarter to one-third of strokes are thought to result in some degree of dementia. People who smoke, consume excessive amounts of alcohol, have diabetes, or heart disease also have a higher rate of the condition.

Vascular dementia most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men seem to be more vulnerable than women, and the condition affects African-Americans more often than other races. People whose age, sex, or race puts them at increased risk of vascular dementia have that much more reason to manage risk factors within their control.

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What Increases The Risk For Dementia

  • AgeThe strongest known risk factor for dementia is increasing age, with most cases affecting those of 65 years and older
  • Family historyThose who have parents or siblings with dementia are more likely to develop dementia themselves.
  • Race/ethnicityOlder African Americans are twice more likely to have dementia than whites. Hispanics 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than whites.
  • Poor heart healthHigh blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking increase the risk of dementia if not treated properly.
  • Traumatic brain injuryHead injuries can increase the risk of dementia, especially if they are severe or occur repeatedly.

What Are The Signs Of End

4 things to know about the stages of dementia

Dementia is a scary diagnosis to deal with for both patients and their loved ones. Often the unknowns leave families with endless questions. One of the biggest questions being:

What are the signs of end-stage dementia?

We have been with families as they handle their loved ones battle with dementia, and we are here to help.

This guide was created to help you understand the symptoms of end stage dementia and what care options your loved one may have.

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How Dementia Causes Death

A person in the late stage of dementia is at risk for many medical complications. Because they’re unable to move, they’re especially high risk for certain conditions.

They could get a urinary tract infection or pneumonia . They can also experience skin breakdown, pressure ulcers , or blood clots.

Trouble swallowing, eating, and drinking leads to weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition. This further increases their risk of infection.

In the end, most people with late-stage dementia die from underlying dementia or a related complication. For example:

  • A person may die from an infection like aspiration pneumonia. If someone has trouble swallowing, food or liquids may go down the wrong tube. Instead of going into the esophagus or stomach, it’s breathed into the airways or lungs. This leads to a type of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia.
  • Another person may die from a blood clot in the lung because they are bedbound and not mobile.

It’s important to know that late-stage dementia is a terminal illness and can lead to death. In these cases, the death certificate may list dementia as the cause of death.

How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia

There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.

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Dementia Stages Five And Six

Stages five and six are known as mid-stage dementia, and they last an average of 18 months and 2.5 years, respectively. Stage five marks moderately severe cognitive decline and loved ones may need help caring for themselves. During this stage, they may forget significant life events, such as the death of a spouse. Stage six marks severe cognitive decline. During this stage, it is almost certain that an individual will need help completing activities such as bathing, dressing, and cooking.

Stage six can be an overwhelming time for family members, as it is when individuals may start to forget the names of their children, close friends, and have virtually no memory of recent events. They may revert back to memories of early childhood, become delusional, lose their ability to speak, experience incontinence, exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and become easily agitated. It is during this stage that extra care becomes necessary, possibly in a professional setting.

Stages Of Frontotemporal Dementia

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The rate at which FTD progresses varies greatly and research has found that the differences between different types of FTD become less obvious as dementia progresses. Those who originally exhibited symptoms of behavioural variants may eventually experience language difficulties and similarly, a person originally diagnosed with a language variant of FTD will typically develop behavioural problems. The symptoms and signs of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia are generally unaware of their behaviour and will rely on their loved ones to identify new and unusual characteristics.

Mild

Unlike Alzheimers, the early stage of frontotemporal dementia doesnt usually affect memory or cognitive functioning. Someone with FTD may go walking without obvious purpose but, unlike someone with Alzheimers, will return home without getting lost.

During the early stages of behavioural FTD, changes to personality and behaviour become noticeable. Typical behavioural changes include:

  • Becoming uncharacteristically selfish or apathetic
  • Acting impulsively
  • Confusion regarding the meaning of familiar words,
  • Difficulty in finding the right word
  • Difficulty with recognising familiar objects

Severe

In the later stages of all types of FTD, more structures of the brain become damaged. Someone living with later stages of FTD usually experiences symptoms that are similar to the later stages of Alzheimers disease such as:

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Sixth Dementia Stage: Severe Decline

The sixth stage of dementia is the second to last stage where patients may require constant supervision as well as around the clock or 24/7 medical care. If a person cannot receive proper care at home at this point, it is best to look for assisted living centers near you or nursing homes which also specializes in taking care of patients who have dementia . Symptoms that people usually showcase in the 6th stage of dementia include:

  • Unawareness or confusion of surroundings and environment
  • Wandering
  • Need for assistance with day to day activities like bathing, dressing, toileting, eating and incontinence
  • Potential behavioral problems as well as personality changes
  • Inability to recall most details about their history
  • Failure to recognize faces apart from very close relatives and friends
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Loss of willpower

Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment

This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

  • Forgetting where one has placed an object
  • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

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Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Can Increase Care And Quality Of Life

Understanding the signs, symptoms, and stages of dementia can help you prepare yourself and your family for these changes. While there is no cure for dementia at this time, the sooner the symptoms are discovered, the sooner steps can be taken to prepare for changes. Your healthcare provider can explain the treatment options that are available for you or your loved one.

Preparing your loved ones, gathering legal and financial documents, and preparing end-of-life planning can go a long way in creating peace of mind for everyone. By being prepared, you can set yourself up for as smooth a transition as possible during the stages of dementia.

Tandem Careplanning’s Dementia Home Care Services

If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of dementia or are currently living with dementia, its important to know youre not alone. Tandem Careplanning specializes in dementia home care. Tandem can help you create a customized care plan for you or your loved one, and well help guide you every step of the way.

If youd like to learn more about in-home dementia care, call one of our skilled Senior Care Specialists at .

What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly

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Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.

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The 7 Stages Of Dementia And Symptoms For Each

Understanding the dementia timeline is key to making thoughtful medical and personal decisions regarding memory care. Learn to recognize warning signs during the early stages of dementia to secure a diagnosis, then review common symptoms of moderate and late stage dementia to help you prepare for the future. Knowing milestones to look for throughout the dementia stages will help you determine when its time to reassess your family members care needs.

What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.

Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.

There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.

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What You Can Do For Your Loved One

As an individual with dementia declines, you can help them by providing a loving and supportive presence. Sit with them. Hold their hand. Play music they enjoy.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is helping to get their affairs in order. Ensure that financial and healthcare powers of attorney are put in place, so you can make decisions when your loved one is no longer able. Look into funeral arrangements before you need them, so you dont need to make important decisions in a time of crisis.

Talk to your loved ones physician about the possibility of palliative care support in the home and hospice care when your loved one is ready.

Stage : Moderately Severe Mental Decline/moderate Dementiaquality Of Life: Moderate Impact

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Your loved one will likely remember some of their past and still recognize loved ones. He or she may have trouble making healthcare decisions. You may need some care in the home for day-to-day activities. You may see your loved one:

  • Experience personality changes and mood swings.
  • Repeat the same questions over and over again.
  • Have gaps in memory and become confused about the date, where you are, or your address and phone number.
  • Need help with eating or using the toilet.
  • Have trouble choosing clothing, such as what kind of close to wear for the season.
  • Have bladder problems.

How You Can Help:

If you havent already helped your loved one document his or her care wishes, talk with the health care team and the options for care.

If you have, help the health care team follow your loved ones care preferences.

You can:

  • Help with dressing, toileting, and other daily activities.
  • Respond to repeated questions with patience.

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Where To Live With Dementia

Eventually, caregiving for someone with dementia wont be appropriate anymore. The needs of a person with progressive dementia become overwhelming, and moving into a full-time residence with trained staff becomes necessary. You should plan for this well before it becomes necessary, by visiting communities and asking the right questions.

Depending on your loved ones stage of illness, different living options are available:

Assisted Living in Early StagesAssisted living residences combine room and board with medical and personal care, and are often sufficient for someone in the early stages of Alzheimers disease or related dementia. Full-time supervision means residents are safe, with living units like private studios or apartments so someone with mild dementia can still feel a sense of independence.

Services offered in assisted living include meals, help with activities of daily living , social activities, and transportation to and from doctors appointments. Before moving in, the residence will assess your loved one to make sure its a good fit.

Memory care residences have physical designs that are appropriate for people with dementia. Someone with Alzheimers, for instance, may become upset when encountering a wall, so memory care buildings have circular hallways. Because people with dementia are prone to wander, memory care residences have increased security and supervision, and special locks on doors.

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