Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Caregiving In The Middle Stages
According to the Alzheimers Association, this can be the most prolonged period you will face as a caregiver. The symptoms associated with the middle stage can continue for most of your loved ones later years. During this time, you will need to learn to develop patience, flexibility, and understanding as their day-to-day functions become more difficult to achieve. Your loved one might need assistance with ADLs, act out in strange ways, or grow frustrated and angry with you, which can be stressful. Be sure to take care of yourself and reach out to family, friends, and other support services to make this transition smoother.
What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia
Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.
Many people at the early;stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.
For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.
The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.
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How Does Ftd Progress
The progression of symptoms in behavior, language, and/or movement varies by individual, but FTD brings an inevitable decline in functioning.;The length of progression varies from 2 to over 20 years.
As the disease progresses, the person affected may experience increasing difficulty in planning or organizing activities. They may behave inappropriately in social or work settings, and have trouble communicating with others, or relating to loved ones.
Over time, FTD predisposes an individual to physical complications such as pneumonia, infection, or injury from a fall. Average life expectancy is 7 to 13 years after the start of symptoms .;The most common cause of death is pneumonia.
Differences Between Ftd And Other Dementias
FTD differs markedly in several ways when compared to other dementias, especially Alzheimerâs disease:
- FTD is characterized by cerebral atrophy in the frontal and anterior temporal lobes of the brain, while Alzheimerâs affects the hippocampal, posterior temporal, and parietal regions.
- The neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaques, and Lewy bodies present in the brains of Alzheimerâs and other dementia patients are absent.
- Alzheimerâs patients experience severe memory loss. While FTD patients exhibit memory disturbances, they remain oriented to time and place and recall information about the present and past.
- FTD patients, even in late stages of the disease, retain visuo-spatial orientation, and they negotiate and locate their surroundings accurately.
- Intellectual failure in FTD is distinctly different from that of Alzheimerâs patients. Results of intelligence tests are normal in those with FTD until the point in the disease when disinterest results in lower scores.
- Life expectancy is slightly longer for FTD.
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Mid Stage Frontotemporal Dementia
As FTD symptoms progress, they tend to become more consistent. In many cases, people living the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia will also develop symptoms of the language variants in this stage . Generally, it is difficult for a person to recognize these symptoms on their own; usually the people around them are better able to distinguish the behavioral and language changes that develop in the early and mid stages of FTD.
Trouble With Balance And Mobility
At Easter 2016 we reached another crisis when her weight dropped drastically and a PEG tube was considered, but it was decided that she would be at great risk if she underwent the operation. However, once she came off her medication for osteoporosis she began to take food again and regained weight.
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Stage : Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Stage 2 can vary between typical age-related memory problems that most seniors face, such as forgetting specific dates or slower recall of a name or word. Or this stage could include some of the beginning signs of dementia that are often not obvious to doctors and loved ones. Some of the side effects that correspond with stage 2 include:
- Forgetting everyday phrases or names
- Forgetting the location of important objects
Diagnosing Frontal Lobe Dementia
No one test is able to diagnose frontal lobe dementia. Instead physicians are able to use the balance of evidence to diagnose frontal lobe dementia based on their best judgment. Because there is no foolproof test and diagnosis depends on the physicians knowledge, judgment, and observation of the patient, frontal lobe dementia is notoriously difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Although as the disease progresses, it becomes easier to definitely distinguish it between other disorders.
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How Is Delirium Different From Dementia
Delirium is different from dementia. But they have similar symptoms, such as confusion, agitation and delusions. If a person has these symptoms, it can be hard for healthcare professionals who dont know them to tell whether delirium or dementia is the cause. When a person with dementia also gets delirium they will have symptoms from both conditions at once.There are important differences between delirium and dementia. Delirium starts suddenly and symptoms often also vary a lot over the day. In contrast, the symptoms of dementia come on slowly, over months or even years. So if changes or symptoms start suddenly, this suggests that the person has delirium.Dementia with Lewy bodies is an exception. This type of dementia has many of the same symptoms as delirium and they can vary a lot over the day.
Other symptoms of dementia
Dementia can cause a number of different symptoms. Here we explain some of these changes and suggest practical ways to manage them.
- taking multiple medications
- having already had delirium in the past.
What Affects The Speed Of Progression
The speed at which dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person because of factors such as:
- the type of dementia for example, Alzheimers disease tends to progress more slowly than the other types
- a persons age for example, Alzheimers disease generally progresses more slowly in older people than in younger people;
- other long-term health problems dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well managed
- delirium a medical condition that starts suddenly .
There is no way to be sure how quickly a persons dementia will progress. Some people with dementia will need support very soon after their diagnosis. In contrast, others will stay independent for several years.
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Is There Treatment Available
There is not yet a cure for FTD, or any disease modifying treatment. However, various therapies can help with some of the symptoms. Secondary symptoms, such as depression, may be helped by medication.
Knowing more about FTD and why the person is behaving as they are can help people to cope with the disease.
Family members and carers can, with support, develop coping strategies to work around problems rather than trying to change the behaviour of the person with FTD.
Psychological therapies are important to help manage abnormal behaviour.
Speech therapy is of benefit to people with PNFA, particularly in helping to develop alternative communication methods.
The input of an occupational therapist can help improve everyday functioning at home.
Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia
People with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia often have trouble controlling their behavior. They may say inappropriate things or ignore other peoples feelings. bvFTD may affect how a person deals with everyday situations. bvFTD can also affect language or thinking skills. Unfortunately, people with bvFTD rarely notice these changes.
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What Does Progression In Stages Mean
There are many different types of dementia and all of them are progressive. This means symptoms may be relatively mild at first but they get worse with time, usually over several years. These include problems with memory, thinking, problem-solving or language, and often changes in emotions, perception or behaviour.
As dementia progresses, a person will need more help and, at some point, will need a lot of support with daily living. However, dementia is different for;everyone, so it will vary how soon this happens;and the type of support needed.
It can be helpful to think of dementia progressing in three stages:
These are sometimes called mild, moderate and severe, because this describes how much the symptoms;affect a person.
These stages can be used to understand how dementia is likely to change over time, and to help people prepare for the future. The stages also act as a guide to when certain treatments, such as medicines for Alzheimers disease, are likely to work best.
What Is The Prognosis For Someone With Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia worsens over time. Eventually people with FTD will need help with their activities of everyday living. Some people may need 24-hour care at home or at living facilities or nursing homes. The speed of decline varies from person to person, but the disease course typically ranges from two to 10 years.
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Early Onset Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia is one of the types of dementia that can affect younger people. Although it can strike in the elderly, its most often diagnosed between forty-five and sixty-five years of age. In fact, The Alzheimers Society says that its the second or third most common dementia in people under sixty-five and that it affects men and women roughly equally.
Difficulties In Thinking Things Through And Planning
A person may get confused more easily and find it harder to plan, make complex decisions or solve problems.
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How To Diagnose Frontotemporal Dementia
There are no specific tests for diagnosing frontotemporal dementia. However, clinical history and some non-specific tests may help. The diagnosis of dementia is difficult because of overlapping symptoms. Non-specific tests helpful in diagnosis include:
- Blood tests: to rule out any other major pathology in the body.
- The sleep study test: it helps find out the cause of obstructive sleep apnea, which some patient with frontotemporal dementia may experience.
- Neuropsychological test: it may be conducted to determine what type of dementia the patient has.
- Brain imaging studies: these are also of great importance in helping reach the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia. Imaging techniques include MRI scans and Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tracer scan . With the help of an FDG-PET scan, areas of brain degeneration can be identified easily.
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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Other Therapies For Frontotemporal Dementia
There are several other ways that life can be improved for people with frontotemporal dementia and their families. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help to keep the person with dementia mobile and to make sure their home environment is as safe as possible. Speech therapy can help people with language and with any difficulties swallowing.
For carers, understanding how the condition is likely to affect the person with the dementia can make it easier to prevent problems and cope with them when they arise. Caring for someone with frontotemporal dementia can be particularly demanding and stressful, so its important that carers look after themselves.
Causes Of Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia is caused by clumps of abnormal protein forming inside brain cells. These are thought to damage the cells and stop them working properly.
The proteins mainly build up in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain at the front and sides. These are important;for controlling language, behaviour, and the ability to plan and organise.
It’s not fully understood why this happens, but there’s often a genetic link. Around 1 in 8 people who get frontotemporal dementia will have relatives who were also affected by the condition.
If you have a family history of frontotemporal dementia, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about being referred to a geneticist and possibly having a;genetic test to see if you’re at risk.
There’s a lot of research being done to try to improve understanding of the causes of frontotemporal dementia so treatments can be discovered.
If you’re interested in helping with research, you can speak to a doctor or register your interest on Join Dementia Research.
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What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia
Dementia does not affect every person in the same way. It presents itself differently in each individual and progresses at different rates. Some people will stay in a state of mild decline for an extended period, while others may develop multiple symptoms quickly. Understanding the seven stages of dementia can make these transitions a little easier for your loved one and you as their caregiver.
How Does Dementia Reduce Life Expectancy
Dementia reduces life expectancy in two ways.
First, some of the diseases that are closely linked to Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease can mean a lower life expectancy. For example, vascular dementia is closely linked to heart disease and stroke. A person with vascular dementia is at risk of dying at any stage of dementia, from one of these.
The other way that dementia reduces life expectancy is through the effects of severe disease.
These all make them much more likely to develop other medical problems that can lead to death, such as infections or cardiovascular problems .
This is why the later stage of dementia is often the shortest.
A person with dementia can also die at any stage from another condition not closely related to their dementia. Cancer and lung disease are common examples.
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Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
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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Signs And Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia
Each case of FTD is different, but the illness generally becomes more distinguishable from other brain conditions as it progresses.;Symptoms may occur in clusters, and some may be more prevalent in early or later stages.;Here is a list of ten signs of FTD: