Stage : Mild Cognitive Decline
Stage 3 is where dementia or Alzheimers disease symptoms can become more noticeable to friends and family. This stage will not have a major impact on your loved ones everyday life, but signs can include:
- Trouble with complex tasks and problem-solving
- Memory loss and forgetfulness
- Asking the same question repeatedly
- Diminished work performance
What Are Specific Care Needs At Each Stage
An individual may not require care assistance after the initial diagnosis of dementia, but that will change as the disease progresses and symptoms become worse. There are about 16 million unpaid caregivers of people with dementia in the United States. While many caregivers are providing daily help for family members, they also hire someone to help. There are many options of care assistance, such as in-home care, adult day care, and nursing home care. There is also financial assistance available.
Early Stage DementiaAs mentioned above, in the early stage of dementia a person can function rather independently and requires little care assistance. Simple reminders of appointments and names of people may be needed. Caregivers can also assist with coping strategies to help loved ones remain as independent as possible, such as writing out a daily to-do list and a schedule for taking medications. Safety should always be considered, and if any tasks cannot be performed safely alone, supervision and assistance should be provided. During this period of dementia, its a good idea for caregivers and loved ones to discuss the future. For example, a long-term care plan should be made and financial and legal matters put in place.
What Is The Impact Of This Research
The study has given us an invaluable insight into the possibilities of tracking the progression of dementia. We hope the results of this study will be of benefit to people with dementia, their caregivers, healthcare professionals and other researchers. This new information is the first step along the path to ultimately make it possible for healthcare professionals to predict the long-term health outcomes for people living with dementia, and identify those at risk sooner. Some of these factors are also possibly modifiable, meaning it may be possible to change them to reduce someones risk of poorer long-term outcomes, for example someones weight and nutrition could be closely monitored to make sure they are within healthy levels. In the future, we may be able to offer more targeted treatment and support for that individual, such as treating mental health issues such as depression or anxiety so that they do not become severe, or avoiding use of certain medications like antipsychotics. There may also be benefits for research. If these markers allow us to track the progression of dementia, this would help research studies test the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments without needing intensive and costly follow-up assessments or waiting for longer-term outcomes.
If you would like to find out more about this research, you can visit the study website or watch the animation produced by Keele university below.
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How Is Frontotemporal Dementia Treated
Currently, no treatments are available to cure or slow the progression of FTD, but healthcare providers may prescribe medicine to treat symptoms. Antidepressants may help treat anxiety and control obsessive-compulsive behaviors and other symptoms. Prescription sleeping aids can help ease insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Antipsychotic medicine may reduce irrational and compulsive behaviors.
Behavior modification may help control unacceptable or risky behaviors.
Speech and language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists can help adjustment to some of the changes caused by FTD.
Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia
Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:
- personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
- lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
- language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
- becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
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How Is Dementia Diagnosed
No single test can determine if your loved one has dementia. A physician will examine several factors to come up with a diagnosis, including a full medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests, and recognizing a pattern of loss of function and skills. With a high-level of certainty, doctors can diagnose a person with dementia, but its more challenging to define the exact type of dementia. Biomarkers can help make an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimers disease, which is included under the umbrella of dementia.
Stage : Mild Dementia Due To Alzheimers Disease
The symptoms of Alzheimers disease during this stage are still mild however, close friends and family may begin to notice signs and symptoms of the disease. Work quality will begin to suffer, and the individual is likely to experience problems when trying to learn something new. Although stage three lasts for approximately seven years, symptoms will become more apparent over a span of two to four years. Its during stage three that Alzheimers disease is most often diagnosed, as it becomes apparent to family and medical professionals that the individual is having significant trouble with memory and thinking, so much so, that it impacts day-to-day activities.
In stage three, an individual may require counseling. They may have mild to moderate denial, depression and anxiety. As this stage progresses and their symptoms worsen, they may require caregiving assistance in their home or in a senior care community.
In stage three, individuals may experience:
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How Is Dementia Treated
Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. For example, dementia that has developed due to vitamin deficiency can be treated with vitamin supplements and hence is reversible. Other causes of dementia such as depression, thyroid problems can also be treated.
For progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, no treatment can halt its progression, and research is still going on to find out the same. But, some medications may temporarily help relieve its symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. These are:
How To Get A Better Idea Of Life Expectancy For Your Individual Situation
Whilst every person is different, and every dementia journey is different, if you want more clarity about how long you, or your loved one might live, studies suggest that the main factors to consider are:
1. Age 2. General health when diagnosed .3. Which form of dementia they have .4. How much they can still do for themselves day to day. Experts call this functional ability, and it seems to matter more than cognitive ability. In other words, people who continue to try doing things for themselves, even if their dementia is quite advanced, tend to live longer than those who stop.
*Other factors, such as whether you are married, living at home or your level of education dont seem to have an impact.
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Can Treatment Slow The Stages Of Vascular Dementia
While there’s no guaranteed treatment for vascular dementia, researchers suggest that taking good care of your heart and your brain may reduce the chance of, or slow, further progression. This includes maintaining a healthy blood pressure, exercising regularly, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet.
Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience a greater problem with concentration. Routine day-to-day tasks requiring critical thought may take longer as the disease progresses.
The ability to drive safely may also be called into question. If you or a loved one gets lost while driving a commonly traveled route, this may be a symptom of AD.
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Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
- struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
- being confused about time and place
- mood changes
These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.
You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.
Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 5 is when your loved one is likely to need help with routine tasks, like dressing or bathing. They may require a home caregiver or to move to a memory care community. Other symptoms include:
- Memory loss of personal details and current events
- Reduced mental acuity and problem-solving ability
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Risk Factors To Consider
Although AD isnt an expected part of advancing age, youre at increased risk as you get older. More than 32 percent of people over age 85 have Alzheimers.
You may also have an increased risk of developing AD if a parent, sibling, or child has the disease. If more than one family member has AD, your risk increases.
The exact cause of early onset AD hasnt been fully determined. Many researchers believe that this disease develops as the result of multiple factors rather than one specific cause.
Researchers have discovered rare genes that may directly cause or contribute to AD. These genes may be carried from one generation to the next within a family. Carrying this gene can result in adults younger than age 65 developing symptoms much earlier than expected.
Stage 3 Mild Changesquality Of Life: Very Little Impact
You likely will start to notice changes in your loved ones thinking and reasoning. You also will see some memory loss. You may see your loved one:
- Show some signs of forgetfulness, such as losing an item and not being able to retrace steps to find it.
- Have some difficulty finding the right words or names.
- Take more effort to remember appointments, manage money, and manage medicines.
- Have trouble paying attention all the time.
- Begin to have problems at work.
How You Can Help:
If you havent already done it, help your loved one plan for when he or she might have severe dementia. Use our tools to create a document that list his or her values and priorities at different stages of dementia.
If you have, help the health care team follow your loved ones care preferences.
You can also help with:
- Organizing appointments.
- Managing medicines, such as using a pill organizer.
- Helping to put legal and financial documents in order.
- Start to do more of the driving, if possible.
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The Progression Of Dementia
Many types of dementia exist. They are all progressive.
As the disease progresses, the structure and chemistry of the brain become damaged. This leads to the following:
- Problems with short and long term memory
- Inability to clearly communicate
How fast these effects appear depends on the individual. Each dementia sufferer is unique. The disease progresses depending on factors that no two people share. For example, the rate of progression of dementia often relies upon:
- The physical make-up of the person
- The emotional resilience of the person
- Medication prescribed
- Medical conditions he has had over the years
- The support the person has around him
As dementia progresses, sufferers need more support, especially with daily living skills. Since behavior and mood changes with the later stages of the disease, many family members find it difficult to continue providing care.
The Benefits Of An In
Finding the time to care for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, especially when you have other responsibilities like work and family. By working with an in-home care agency, you and your loved one can reap the benefits of having a trained and experienced caregiver available when you are not able to be there. One of the biggest advantages of acquiring in-home care is your loved ones ability to stay in the home. Remaining in a familiar environment often provides individuals with dementia with security and peace of mind.
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Caregiving In The Early Stages
Although most of your loved ones immediate medical needs can be managed on their own in the early stages, you may need to assist with tasks associated with memory or problem-solving. You may need to remind them of their doctors appointments and to set up the next appointment, along with taking their medications on time and getting refills as needed. You may need to assist them in managing their finances and keeping up with social and work obligations. At times, they may also need help remembering places, people, words, and names. In the early stages, you will want to encourage them to:
- Maintain their independence
- Establish a routine to delay the disease from worsening
What Are The Complications Of Frontotemporal Dementia
FTD is not life-threatening people may live with it for years. But it can lead to an increased risk for other illnesses that can be more serious. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death, with FTD. People are also at increased risk for infections and fall-related injuries.
As FTD progressively worsens, people may engage in dangerous behaviors or be unable to care for themselves. They may need 24-hour nursing care or to stay in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
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How Does Alzheimers Impact Life Expectancy
According to a study, the key factors that determine how long someone lives after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are gender, age, and level of disability:
- While men lived approximately 4.1 years following diagnosis, women lived approximately 4.6 years.
- When someone who is over the age of 90 is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they live 3.8 years. In contrast, someone under the age of 70 lived 10.7 years.
- If a patient was frail when they were diagnosed, they didn’t live as long even after the adjustment for age has been made.
In the end, the average survival time for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia was 4.5 years.
Its Never Too Early To Focus On Brain Health
Tests used to screen for Alzheimers and other types of dementia may not work to identify MCI because MCI doesnt fall into the same category as these more serious conditions. Instead, Langa suggests that older adults and their partners or family members keep an eye out for potential memory and thinking problems. Red flags include new difficulties finding ones way around familiar places or using everyday appliances at home. Another indicator is forgetting the names of familiar people.
All of these tips for reducing the risk of dementia in older adults are just as useful for improving brain health in younger people.
It is also important for middle-age adults to address any cardiovascular risks that can increase the long-term risks for heart and cognitive problems, said Langa. This includes maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. Both reduce the risk of stroke and give the brain a boost.
It may be even more important for long-term cognitive health, said Langa, to have these risks treated well and aggressively in middle-age than at older ages.
Learn How to Improve Your Brain Health Now »
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How Important Are The Stages Of Dementia
The stages of dementia are just a guide and there is nothing significant about the number three. Equally, dementia doesnt follow an exact or certain set of steps that happen in the same way for every person with dementia.
It can be difficult to tell when a persons dementia has progressed from one stage to another because:
- some symptoms may appear in a different order to the stages described in this factsheet, or not at all
- the stages may overlap the person may need help with some aspects of everyday life but manage other tasks and activities on their own
- some symptoms, particularly those linked to behaviours, may develop at one stage and then reduce or even disappear later on. Other symptoms, such as memory loss and problems with language and thinking, tend to stay and get worse with time.
It is natural to ask which stage a person is at or what might happen next. But it is more important to focus on the person in the present moment. This includes their needs and how they can live well, and how to help them with this.
For more support on living well with dementia see The dementia guide: living well after diagnosis or Caring for a person with dementia: a practical guide .
And for more information about treatment and support for the different types of dementia go to the following pages:
What Are The Final Stages Of Dementia
As seniors progress to late stage dementia, full-time care may become necessary, whether you choose memory care or professional dementia care at home. The symptoms of the final stages of Alzheimers include behavioral and personality changes, inability to perform ADLs, and severe cognitive decline.
Dementia stage 6: severe cognitive decline
Stage 6 marks a need for caregiver help to perform basic daily activities such as dressing, eating, using the toilet, and other self-care. Seniors with late stage dementia may have difficulty regulating sleep, interacting with others, or behaving appropriately in public settings.
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