What Are The Stages Of Dementia
In the early stages of dementia, symptoms are often mild. Seniors with early-stage dementia continue to be active in the community, drive and work. Lapses in memory occur, and the senior or loved ones may notice the seniors forgetfulness of familiar words or location of commonplace items.
As the disease advances to middle-stage dementia, the senior will start to need extra support. The dementia patient is likely to feel increased frustration with emerging limitations. The damage to the nerve cells in the brain can cause daily tasks to seem insurmountable.
In middle-stage dementia, care will be necessary to protect the senior. The dementia patient may not recall a home address, be confused about the day and time or have the tendency to wander. Incontinence issues are common at this stage, as bladder and bowels become difficult to control.
The senior with middle-stage dementia can continue to participate in everyday activities, provided that support is readily available. Dementia caregivers will observe the care recipient to see what he is capable of accomplishing and make an effort to simplify those tasks.
Dementia symptoms become severe in the late stage of the disease. 24-hour home care will be necessary. The individual will experience changes that affect his abilities to walk, sit or eat. Hospice care may be an option in this late stage, as it benefits both the senior and his family.
Know When Its Time To Bring In Outside Help
Sometimes, even though every fiber of your being tells you that you should be able to handle the demands of caregiving, you dont have to do it alone. If and when this time arrives, in-home care can be a true blessing for family caregivers.
In-home care services offer help with the many activities of daily living in the seniors own home, including:
- Grocery shopping and/or making meals
- Medication reminders
You can also consider respite care, which gives you a little time away for yourself.
You can relax, knowing that your mother or father will be well cared for while you are away. Respite care services may help you return to your caregiving tasks with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Caring For Those With Dementia
Researcher Murna Downs, PhD, says most people don’t recognize that dementia is a disease people live with, and not just a death sentence.
Downs’ research focuses on quality-of-life issues among dementia patients.
“People with dementia live a long time, and we now know that there is a lot of awareness,” she says. “People assume that if someone doesn’t know where they are they have no other capacity for thinking and feeling. But people with dementia continue to think and to laugh and to feel the rain on their faces, and to try to make sense of their world.”
She adds that patients are often isolated because family members or other caregivers fail to recognize their need for interaction and stimulation.
“The therapeutic potential of human contact cannot be underestimated,” she says. “You would never put a small child in a chair and let them sit there all day with nothing to do. Children need stimulation and human contact and so do people with dementia.”
SOURCES: Xie, J. BMJ Online First, Jan. 11, 2008. Carol Brayne,professor, lecturer in epidemiology, department of public health and primarycare, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, England. MurnaDowns, PhD, professor in dementia studies, Bradford Dementia Group, Universityof Bradford, England Ferri, C.P. Lancet, 2005 vol 366: pp2112-2117.
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Payment Options / Financial Assistance For Alzheimers Care
For most families, the expenses of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers or dementia are covered not by a single source, but instead by contributions from a variety of sources. Some of these resources are specifically designed for Alzheimers patients and others are of a more general nature.
Dementia Care Central is a free website that offers tips, suggestions, and videos on how to provide hands on care and gain the cooperation of persons with Alzheimers. Visit their site.
Physical Difficulties In The Later Stages Of Dementia
The physical changes of late-stage dementia are partly why the person is likely to need much more support with daily living. At this stage they may:
- walk more slowly, with a shuffle and less steadily eventually they may spend more time in a chair or in bed
- be at increased risk of falls
- need a lot of help with eating and so lose weight
- have difficulty swallowing
- be incontinent losing control of their bladder and bowels.
The persons reduced mobility, in particular, raises their chances of blood clots and infections. These can be very serious or even fatal so it is vital that the person is supported to be as mobile as they can.
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Most Seniors With Dementia Live At Home Despite Pain Anxiety Poor Health
Shortfall in Home-Based Medical Care for Memory-Impaired Patients Must Be Addressed, UCSF Researchers Say
Contrary to popular belief, most older Americans with advancing dementia remain in their own homes many until they die. But a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has revealed that this population may endure more pain and have more complex or unaddressed medical needs than their counterparts in nursing homes.
In the study, researchers compared the medical characteristics of 728 adults over 65 with moderately severe dementia, in three settings: the participants own homes residential care, which spans the spectrum of retirement communities from those offering support at extra cost to assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, which care for people unable to attend to their most basic needs.
Although the living-at-home participants had an average age of 82, four years younger than the nursing home residents, the researchers found that they had more chronic conditions 3.2 versus 3.1 were more likely to be bothered by pain 70.8 percent versus 58.6 percent and had fallen in the last month or had concerns about falls 67.1 percent versus 50.4 percent. Additionally, they were more likely to have anxiety and fair or poor health, rather than good or excellent health.
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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Annual Report To Parliament On Canada’s Dementia Strategy
Each year the federal Minister of Health prepares a report to Parliament on the national dementia strategy.
The 2020 Report to Parliament shares a Canada-wide overview of some of the many dementia-related efforts underway across the country. This report highlights how many different organizations, including the federal government, are supporting the strategy’s national objectives and reflects the variety of those efforts.
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 .
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Working When You Have Dementia
If you’ve received a dementia diagnosis, you may be worried about how you’ll cope at work. You should speak to your employer as soon as you feel ready.
In some jobs, such as the armed forces, you must tell your employer. If you’re unsure, check your employment contract.
You can also get advice from the disability employment adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus, your trade union or your local Citizens Advice service. If you decide to leave work, seek advice about your pensions and benefits.
If you want to continue to work, speak to your employer about what adjustments can be made to help you, such as:
- changes to your working hours
- scheduling meetings at different times
- changing to a different role that may be less demanding
Under the Equality Act 2010, your employer has to make “reasonable adjustments” in the workplace to help you do your job.
Find out more about working and dementia from Alzheimers Society
What Are The Warning Signs That Life Is Nearing An End
When an elderly person with dementia is almost bearing their end, it can be very traumatic especially for the loved ones. It is important to have an idea of what signs one needs to expect when the end comes as this can give you some sort of comfort.
When you think of a condition such as Alzheimers disease, a person can live for over 10 years with it. It is possible to make the person happy over those years. Since we are not immortals, at some point life does come to an end when you have dementia and it is something that one needs to be prepared for especially if they are caregivers.
Handling the final stage of dementia is much easier, especially when you are aware of the things that you should expect. It is important to give the person the kind of care that will award him or her dignified and peaceful death.
Usually, when a person is about to reach the end, the dementia symptoms usually get worse and this can be quite upsetting. Some of the things that you may notice include:
- Limited mobility so they may have to be bed bound
- Limited speech or no speech at all
- Double incontinence
- Difficulties swallowing and eating
It is important to note that the above symptoms do not really mean that the person will just die. There are people who can have such symptoms for quite some time. You should also remember that about two-thirds of dementia patients succumb to other ailments such as pneumonia.
Some of the other signs that can indicate that death is indeed close include:
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Moving To A Care Home
If the persons needs become too great for you to manage at home, you may need to consider other long-term options. If youre becoming exhausted or the person with dementia is becoming harder to care for, a care home can be the best option for you both.
A move to a care home can be a difficult decision, but there are limits to the care you can provide.
If the person you care for is moving into a care home, familiar furniture, belongings or music can help them feel more settled.
Facts About The Future
Studies into the main types of dementia have revealed the following about life expectancy
General life expectancy for someone with Alzheimers is around 8-12 years from diagnosis although this does depend on age and health. If you were relatively fit and healthy on the diagnosis you could live considerably longer than this. People who are diagnosed around the age of 65 tend to decline more slowly than those who are aged 80 or over. But with the right care and treatment, a fit and healthy 80 year old could still live into their nineties.
Did you know? A US study of 1,300 men and women with Alzheimers showed life expectancy to range from one year to 26 years from when their symptoms first appeared
Since vascular dementia is often linked to strokes people who are living with it can be in poorer general health than those with other types of dementia. Studies have shown their average life expectancy to be around four years after diagnosis, though their eventual decline is often linked to further strokes.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
After diagnosis, the average lifespan of someone with dementia with Lewy bodies was found in one study to be around 5-7 years after onset. However people have been known to live between two and 20 years with it, depending on their age, and other medical conditions they may have, such as Parkinsons disease which can be related to dementia with Lewy bodies.
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How To Get Extra Help And Support
Apply for a needs assessment from the adult social services department of your local council. This will help to identify where you might benefit from help, such as with meals or housework.
A needs assessment should be done face to face. It’s a good idea to have a relative or friend with you, if you’re not sure what your needs might be. They can also take notes for you.
Read more about applying for a needs assessment
Join an online forum, such as Alzheimers Society Talking Point. Online forums are a good way to share your experiences of living with dementia and advice on how to continue living independently.
Read more about help and support for people with dementia.
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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Alzheimers Resource Locator Tool
Our websites database contains information on over 300 programs that provide financial assistance or reduce the cost of caring for the elderly. Many of these programs are specifically applicable to those suffering from Alzheimers, dementia or other related memory disorders. One can search specifically for programs relevant to them by entering their demographic information into our Resource Locator Tool.
Eldercare Financial Assistance Locator
Assistance For Veterans With Alzheimers
While the VA does not have programs specifically for individuals with dementia or Alzheimers, there are benefits available through other VA programs that are available and relevant to veterans with these conditions. A pension benefit known as Aid and Attendance can provide the greatest amount of financial assistance. Up to approximately 2,230 / month in some cases. There is also VA Respite Care and other assistance available through Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services.
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Life Expectancy And Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Abnormal proteins cause steadily increasing brain damage. This initially affects thought and memory and remember and progressively causes failure of all body systems.
Alzheimers is typically diagnosed at the mild dementia stage when memory and planning problems start to affect daily life. The life expectancy for an individual with Alzheimer’s is usually between 8-12 years from diagnosis however, someone fit and healthy on diagnosis could live considerably longer. In one American study, people lived from between one and twenty-six years after first spotting symptoms, so the variation is enormous.
Consider Moving To A 55
Safety features, such as nonslip tubs, are already in place, and neighborsmay have loved ones in similar situations. Have more financial flexibility?Continuing-care retirement communities allow the person with dementia toaccess higher levels of care while a more active spouse can liveindependently on the same campus.
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What Are The Average Life Expectancy Figures For The Most Common Types Of Dementia
The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows:
- Alzheimers disease around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimers live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.
- Vascular dementia around five years. This is lower than the average for Alzheimers mostly because someone with vascular dementia is more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack than from the dementia itself.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies about six years. This is slightly less than the average for Alzheimers disease. The physical symptoms of DLB increase a persons risk of falls and infections.
- Frontotemporal dementia about six to eight years. If a person has FTD mixed with motor neurone disease a movement disorder, their dementia tends to progress much quicker. Life expectancy for people who have both conditions is on average about two to three years after diagnosis.
To find out about the support available to someone at the end of their life, and to their carers, family and friends, see our End of life care information.
You can also call Alzheimers Society on 0333 150 3456 for personalised advice and support on living well with dementia, at any stage.
Dementia Connect support line
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