Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
Preclinical Alzheimers Or No Impairment
You may only know about your risk of Alzheimers disease due to your family history. Or, your doctor may identify biomarkers that indicate your risk.
If youre at risk of Alzheimers, your doctor will interview you about memory problems. However, there will be no noticeable symptoms during the first stage, which can last for years or decades.
Abnormal accumulation of a type of protein called tau in the fluid around your brain and spinal cord is associated with the development of Alzheimers disease. Changes in the levels of this protein can occur about 15 years before symptoms start.
Caregiver support: Someone in this stage is fully independent. They may not even know they have the disease.
Speaking And Voice Problems And Stroke
If you see someone with the following symptoms, call 911 right away:
- They suddenly have trouble trying to speak, they slur their words, or mumble.
- They struggle to read, write, or understand others when they could before.
- When you ask them to smile, their face looks uneven or droops on one side.
- They have new weakness or numbness in one or both arms or in one or both legs.
Talk to a doctor about ways to prevent a stroke, including watching your loved oneâs blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight. Try to get them to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies. Help them remember to take all their medicines at the right times every day.
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Be Patient And Avoid Jumping In
Its best to give your loved one extra time to process what you say. If you ask a question, patiently wait for their response and avoid rushing an answer. Get comfortable with silence while your loved one is thinking.
When your loved one is struggling for a word, it can be tempting to jump in. But rather than helping, you may unintentionally derail their thought process, Gurung says.
How Do You Know When Death Is Hours Away
Breathing Changes: periods of rapid breathing and no breathing, coughing or noisy breaths. When a person is just hours from death, you will notice changes in their breathing: The rate changes from a normal rate and rhythm to a new pattern of several rapid breaths followed by a period of no breathing .
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Using The Gds To Measure Dementia Progression
As the disease progresses, different signs and symptoms will become increasingly obvious. While there are several scales to measure the progression of dementia, the most common scale is the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia . The scale is also known as the Reisberg Scale. According to the GDS, there are seven different stages of Alzheimers disease correlating with four distinct categories: no Alzheimers, mild Alzheimers , moderate Alzheimers , and severe Alzheimers .
Do Not Keep Correcting The Patient
People with dementia do not like it when someone keeps correcting them every time they say something that may not be right. It makes them feel bad about themselves and can make them drift out of the conversation. Discussions should be humorous and light and one should always speak slowly and clearly using simple and short sentences to capture and keep the interest of the dementia patients.
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Stage : Moderate Dementia
Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.
While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.
Do Alzheimer’s Patients Sleep A Lot
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain. It is characterized by thinning of the brain surface and loss of brain cells, which gradually ceases a persons ability to speak, express, or make decisions.
Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia . People with Alzheimer’s disease first develop memory loss. Sleeping excessively is a common feature of later-stage dementia. The reason for the excess sleepiness may be one of the following:
- As the disease progresses, the brain damage becomes more extensive, and the patient wants to just lie down.
- The muscle weakness brought on my brain cell death and reduced movements may make the person inactive.
- The side effects of the various medications Alzheimers patients take may cause sleepiness.
- The depression may often accompany the diagnosis of Alzheimers, and this may manifest as increased sleeping.
- The general lethargy is seen in patients with Alzheimers due to reduced food intake.
As the disease progresses, memory loss worsens and problems with thinking, decision making, reasoning, language, or perception develop. Alzheimer’s is a disease with no cure, but there are ways to stop or slow its progression with medications and other therapies. These can treat symptoms and improve the quality of life.
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Clue Into Visual Cues
You probably have no idea that body language is a powerful conversation tool even when you are talking to someone without Alzheimers. When talking to a patient who has stopped talking, physical indicators can be especially important. Since they are unable to verbally communicate their happiness or frustration, pay attention to facial expressions and body positioning to help you determine their disposition.
Tips For Managing Dementia End
Because individuals with advanced dementia will often have difficulty communicating, it is important that caregivers keep a close eye on their loved one for signs of pain or discomfort. These signs may include moaning or yelling, restlessness or an inability to sleep, grimacing, or sweating. This may also signal that its time to call hospice or a palliative care team to help with the pain management.
If an individual with end-stage dementia is having trouble sitting up without assistance, hospice can provide a hospital bed or other equipment to lift their head.
Perhaps the hardest thing for families is when a loved one with dementia is no longer able to eat or swallow. Because an individual with dementia is unable to understand the benefits of feeding tubes or IV drips, they will often be incredibly distressed and attempt to remove them, causing added pain and risk of infection. Instead, focusing on keeping the individual comfortable. Supporting them with mouth care to prevent their mouth from becoming dry will allow them to make their final transition in peace.
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How Hospice Can Help With End
In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patient’s physician.
To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.
Communicating In The Last Stage Of Dementia
The World Health Organization describes the last part of the dementia disease progress saying, the late stage of dementia is one of near-total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious.
Communication sees drastic changes near the end of the dementia journey. We learn that words are not necessary for communication and have to develop other ways of connecting. Communication is possible through the entire journey with dementia.
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What Do Elderly People Think About Life And Death
As we get older, death seems to be nearer than when we are younger. In as much as anyone can die regardless of age, for an older person, it seems like it is more likely to happen, especially when dealing with different health conditions that the body does not handle as it used to in the younger years.
For older persons, death does not always spell sorrow and terror, as is the case with younger people. Many of the older people are contented with what the short-term future has for them. You may think that people may get anxious as they become older, but this is not the case. Older people do not have much sadness and anxiety, especially related to death. They are actually more positive about life and death.
As we grow older, our perspective shifts. This is when you realize that things are not as they always seem. Most people fear death because they feel that they will lose the things that they have been working so hard to get over the years. However, for older people, this attachment to things acquired is not really pronounced. This is how some of the fear of death actually melts away.
When you look around you and you realize that there are things that are a part of you that will outlive you actually help in a major way. This could be the legacy we have in children or gardens planted. There are yet others who place value on their country, their religion, or families that live on even after they are gone.
Do Not Try To Stop A Person Who Wants To Leave A Room
Staying in one place for long periods may result in behavior problems in the dementia patient. It is essential to have a safe environment where they can enjoy the outdoors without any problem. When someone tries to leave a room, do not force them to stop. Doing this may result in an extreme reaction such as severe distress or injuries.
Instead, it is best to accompany the patient so that they are safe. You can even suggest going for a drive around the block so that they can experience a new environment for a short period. If they do not want company, just let them go but stay close by to make sure that the patient is safe at all times.
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How To Prevent Voice And Speaking Problems
Because they have many different causes, it might not be possible to keep them from happening. But you can take steps to make them less likely.
- Help your loved one drink plenty of fluids, such as water, soup, and juice. Ask their doctor how much is right for them.
- Help them cut down or stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
- Include plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in their diet. These foods have important vitamins and help keep the lining of the throat healthy.
- Help them exercise regularly. Exercise makes muscle tone better and helps provide good posture and breath control, which are necessary for a healthy voice.
- Voice exercises can help keep problems from happening. For instance, encourage the person to read a book aloud for 10 to 15 minutes a day, or have them sing along to their favorite music.
- Donât buy mouthwash that has alcohol or chemicals that irritate. If your loved one really wants to gargle, try to get them to use a saltwater rinse instead.
- Unless their doctor says otherwise, try to stay away from most cold or allergy medicines. These can dry out their vocal cords.
- Try to stay away from things that irritate the nose and throat, like smoke, air pollution, and fumes. Also stay away from things that trigger allergies for some people, like dust, animal dander, mold, and pollen.
- If they smoke and might be able to stop, ask a doctor about programs and products that may help.
The 7 Stages Of Dementia
Alzheimers disease and other common forms of dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia are progressive conditions, with symptoms worsening over time as the disease progresses. Learn more about the stages of dementia and what to expect from your loved one as dementia progresses.
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimers disease and dementia are two different terms. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe several conditions and it includes Alzheimers, as well as other conditions with shared symptoms. More than mere forgetfulness, an individual must have trouble with at least two of the following cognitive areas to be diagnosed with dementia:
- Reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception
The assessment tools used to determine which stage of dementia a person is experiencing are meant to be a guide and a rough outline of what caregivers can expect and when they can expect it. Some symptoms may occur later than others, others may appear in a different order than the scale predicts, and some may not appear at all. Some symptoms may appear and then vanish, while others will continue to worsen over time. Because every person is different and dementia manifests itself uniquely, the speed at which dementia progresses varies widely. On average, a person with Alzheimers disease lives 4 to 8 years after a diagnosis, but some have been seen to live as long as 20 years.
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Articles On Physical Problems With Dementia And Alzheimer’s
Voice and speaking problems are common in people who have Alzheimerâs disease. Voice problems are different from speaking problems in some important ways. Voice problems are often mild and can be treated at home, but sudden speech problems are more likely to need urgent medical care.
Voice problems are caused by changes in a personâs vocal cords or throat muscles. This might make it hard for someone to talk because their voice is weak, hoarse, scratchy, or raspy. This is called dysphonia. Causes of voice problems include:
Speaking problems are caused by changes in a personâs brain that make it hard for them to understand what is said, figure out what to say, and put the right words together. Someone with these issues may find it hard to remember words. They may also be hard to understand, slur their words, repeat the same sound , or say one word when they mean another. Sometimes theyâre unable to speak at all. They have several causes:
Mild Impairment Or Decline
The symptoms of Alzheimers are less clear during stage 3. While the entire stage lasts about 7 years, the symptoms will slowly become clearer over a period of 2 to 4 years. Only people close to someone in this stage may notice the signs. Work quality will decline, and they may have trouble learning new skills.
Other examples of stage 3 signs include:
- getting lost even when traveling a familiar route
- finding it hard to remember the right words or names
- being unable to remember what you just read
- not remembering new names or people
- misplacing or losing a valuable object
Your doctor or clinician may also have to conduct a more intense interview than usual to discover cases of memory loss.
Caregiver support: At this stage, someone with Alzheimers may need counseling, especially if they have complex job responsibilities. They may experience mild to moderate anxiety and denial.
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How Does Alzheimer’s Lead To Death
Alzheimers disease is a degenerative brain disorder in which brain cells destruct. The condition results in a decline in memory, behavior, and mental capabilities.
It is not Alzheimer’s disease that kills a person. Death typically results from an inability to carry out routine activities, such as eating, taking care while walking, visiting the bathroom and toilet. This inability to take care of oneself makes the affected person fall prey to problems, such as malnutrition, dehydration, falls, and infections , which lead to death.
Pneumonia is a common cause of death in people with Alzheimers disease. Problems while swallowing make ingested food particles enter the respiratory tract and the lungs instead of the esophagus. This ingested food causes pneumonia in the lungs.
Encouraging Someone With Dementia To Communicate
Try to start conversations with the person you’re looking after, especially if you notice that they’re starting fewer conversations themselves. It can help to:
- speak clearly and slowly, using short sentences
- make eye contact with the person when they’re talking or asking questions
- give them time to respond, because they may feel pressured if you try to speed up their answers
- encourage them to join in conversations with others, where possible
- let them speak for themselves during discussions about their welfare or health issues
- try not to patronise them, or ridicule what they say
- acknowledge what they have said, even if they do not answer your question, or what they say seems out of context show that you’ve heard them and encourage them to say more about their answer
- give them simple choices avoid creating complicated choices or options for them
- use other ways to communicate such as rephrasing questions because they cannot answer in the way they used to
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