Your Guide To Understanding The 7 Stages Of Dementia
Dementia is a diagnosis that changes your life forever. Whether it is you or a loved one, its important that you understand the stages of dementia.
Dementia is a series of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and reasoning. Doctors dont often refer to dementia as a whole. Instead, they talk about the seven stages of dementia.
There is no hard and fast line that signals a transition from one stage to another. Each patient will experience the stages in unique ways. But it is still helpful to know what the 7 stages of dementia are.
You want to guide your expectations and the level of care needed for your loved one. To do that, you must become familiar with the stages of dementia.
Factors That Influence The Time Between Alzheimers Stages
Theres a noticeably large time range in terms of how long people live with Alzheimers, which is due to the variances in peoples overall health and levels of support. Seniors with high levels of support at home tend to go through each stage more slowly and live longer than people without help. Most people can live for several years with late-stage Alzheimers, but it does require their families to make decisions about how to provide high-quality care. Helping your loved one receive proper nutrition and prevent injuries allows him or her to enjoy a higher quality of life in this final stage.
It can be extremely helpful to enlist the help of a professional caregiver with specialized training in Alzheimers care, which includes unique methods designed to boost cognitive health. The type of in-home careseniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each seniors individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
What To Do About Swallowing Problems
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses to later stages, the person may no longer be able to chew and swallow easily. This is a serious problem. Difficulty with swallowing may lead to choking or cause food or liquid to go into the lungs, which is known as aspiration. This can cause pneumonia, which can lead to death.
The following suggestions may help with swallowing:
- Make sure to cut food into small pieces and that it is soft enough for the person to eat.
- Grind or blend food to make it easier to eat.
- Offer soft foods, such as yogurt, applesauce, mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
- Don’t use a straw, which may cause more swallowing problems. Instead, have the person drink small sips from a cup.
- Offer drinks of different temperatures warm, cold, and room temperatureto see which might be easiest for the person to drink.
- Don’t hurry the person. He or she needs time to chew and swallow each mouthful before taking another bite.
- Encourage the person to feed themselves as much as possible during meals. If the person needs support, try using overhand, underhand, or direct hand feeding approaches.
- Don’t feed a person who is drowsy or lying down. He or she should be in an upright, seated position during the meal and for at least 20 minutes after the meal.
- Say “swallow” to remind him or her to swallow.
- Find out if the person’s pills can be crushed or taken in another form.
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Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Helps You Plan
Even if the stages arent exact and symptoms can still be unpredictable, being able to plan ahead is essential.
The truth is that Alzheimers and dementia care is expensive and time-consuming. Being financially prepared for increasing care needs is a necessity.
On an emotional level, having an idea of what symptoms to expect helps you find ways to cope with challenging behaviors.
It also gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable changes in your older adult.
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.
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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.
Did You Know?
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|
Clinical Dementia Rating
|Clinical Dementia Rating Scale|
|Average duration is 1 year to 2.5 years.|
How Quickly Does Alzheimers Progress
According to the Alzheimers Association, someone develops Alzheimers disease every 65 seconds and more than 5.7 million Americans have the disease. As people live longer, these numbers continue to increase as evidenced by the fact that between 2000 and 2015, deaths resulting from Alzheimers increased by 123%. Its the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
With statistics such as these, is it any wonder that so many people are looking for answers? In this blog post, we hope to provide you with a few answers, mainly about the diseases progression.
Alzheimers disease evolves through various stages however, its effects can vary from person to person. This means that the disease progresses differently with different people. On average, individuals who are 65 years of age and older typically survive three to 11 years after receiving an Alzheimers diagnosis. Having said that, some people live much longer as many as 20 years longer.
Alzheimers disease typically develops slowly, gradually worsening over several years. Over time, it will affect almost every area of the brain. Memory, language, personality, judgment, thinking, problem-solving and movement can all be impacted by Alzheimers disease.
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Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment Due To Alzheimers Disease
Although senior moments are common occurrences for most older adults, an individual with MCI will experience them at a slightly higher rate. MCI will cause an individual to forget things like familiar words, where they placed something or a family members name. They may have difficulty accurately judging the sequence, number of steps or the time required to complete a task. It becomes more difficult for them to make sound decisions.
Memory troubles are still mild enough that they may not be apparent to the individuals family and friends. Additionally, symptoms at this stage typically dont cause problems at work or in relationships.
Not everyone who has MCI has Alzheimers disease. Based on a review of symptoms, a medical professional can diagnose MCI. The same procedures used to diagnose preclinical Alzheimers disease can be used to determine if the MCI is caused by Alzheimers disease or something else.
What To Expect During The Final Stage
The late stage of Alzheimers is characterized by a severe decrease in abilities. At this point, your loved one may experience more physical symptoms, such as incontinence, as the brain becomes unable to communicate with the other parts of the body. Your loved one may also face difficulty with walking or moving independently. Speech may become less intelligible. People in this stage may also experience seizures that place them at a higher risk for injury.
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Duration Of Stages: How Long Do The Stage Of Alzheimers / Dementia Last
No two people with dementia experience the disease exactly the same way, and the rate of progression will vary by person and type of dementia. In addition, it is not uncommon for individuals to have mixed dementia, meaning they have more than one type. That said, there is a natural course of the disease, and over time the capabilities of all persons with dementia will worsen. Eventually, the ability to function goes away. Keep in mind that changes in the brain from dementia begin years before diagnosis, when there are no outward symptoms. This makes it difficult to know how much time a person has left, though there are ways to come close to knowing life expectancy.
|Life Expectancy by Dementia Type|
|2 to 8 years following pronounced symptoms|
Mild DementiaIn this early stage of dementia, an individual can function rather independently, and often is still able to drive and maintain a social life. Symptoms may be attributed to the normal process of aging. There might be slight lapses in memory, such as misplacing eyeglasses or having difficulty finding the right word. Other difficulties may include issues with planning, organizing, concentrating on tasks, or accomplishing tasks at work. This early stage of dementia, on average, lasts between 2 and 4 years.
Stage : Very Severe Cognitive Decline
Experts have documented common patterns of symptom progression that occur in many individuals with Alzheimers disease and developed several methods of staging based on these patterns. Progression of symptoms corresponds in a general way to the underlying nerve cell degeneration that takes place in Alzheimers disease. Nerve cell damage typically begins with cells involved in learning and memory and gradually spreads to cells that control every aspect of thinking, judgment, and behavior. The damage eventually affects cells that control and coordinate movement.
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Stage : Moderate Dementia Due To Alzheimers Disease
Its at this stage, which lasts about two years, that Alzheimers disease is much more diagnosable. Symptoms experienced in stage three become much more pronounced. The individual becomes increasingly more forgetful and confused, requiring assistance with self-care and activities of daily living . Mood changes are much more obvious. They also frequently experience a decreased emotional response, especially in challenging situations.
Individuals with moderate dementia may:
All the difficulties they begin to face as they move into moderate dementia make it unsafe for them to continue to live on their own. For their own safety and that of others, they eventually require constant supervision. Counseling can be helpful for them and those that care for them as they progress through stage four.
Whats The Typical Time Estimate For Late
By Steve Darley 9 am on August 22, 2019
Seniors and their families often have many questions after an Alzheimers diagnosis. While people are being diagnosed with this condition at younger ages than ever before, its still common for people to find out they have Alzheimers when theyre already in the mid-to-later stages of the disease. On average, most people live between four to twenty years after their initial diagnosis. Knowing how long your senior loved one can live during the last stage of Alzheimers helps you plan for his or her future.
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Stage Two: Mild To Moderate Cognitive Decline
The second stage of Alzheimers disease typically lasts from two to four years. This is the stage where your loved one might be diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, as the symptoms are much more pronounced. In the brain, the nerve cells may have become damaged, which may make it difficult for your loved one to express him or herself. As your loved one progresses in this stage from mild to moderate cognitive decline, he or she may need to have additional help provided by a caregiver.
During this stage, you may notice your loved one is moodier or withdrawn, and he or she may also get angry easily. Your loved one might have increased difficulty remembering names of people and words while speaking. Social situations might cause an increased amount of anxiety. Your loved one may also forget details about his or her personal history, phone number, or address and become confused about where he or she is or what he or she is doing. At the end of this stage, your loved one may spend a lot of time in bed due to rigid muscles and abnormal reflexes.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care Barrie, ON, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimers, and Parkinsons.
Stages And Progression Of Lewy Body Dementia
Claudia Chaves, MD, is board-certified in cerebrovascular disease and neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology.
If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, you might be wondering what to expect as the disease progresses. Is there a fairly typical progression like Alzheimers disease where it begins in early stages that are fairly uniform, then moves to middle stages and then to late stages? In Lewy body dementia, the answer is a bit more complicated.
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How Do You Know What Stage Of Alzheimer’s Disease A Loved One Is In
The stages of Alzheimers disease presented in this post offer a reasonable framework from which to observe symptoms and understand the progression of the disease. Since there is no medical consensus for Alzheimers stages, as there is with cancer, it is important for caregivers to be aware of the individual symptoms and situation that their patient or loved one is experiencing. While healthcare providers may refer to a patients condition as late or early stage, any specific stage is less important than the context and understanding of what this means for care going forward.
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.
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Stage : Moderate Cognitive Declinemild Dementia
The diagnosis of Alzheimers disease can be made with considerable accuracy in this stage. The most common functioning deficit in these persons is a decreased ability to manage instrumental activities of daily life, which may hinder their ability to live independently. For the stage 4 person, this may become evident in the form of difficulties in paying rent and other bills, not being able to write out checks with the correct date or amount without assistance the inability to market for personal items and groceries or order from a menu in a restaurant. Persons who previously prepared meals for family members and/or guests begin to manifest decreased performance in these skills.
Symptoms of memory loss also become evident in this stage. For example, seemingly major recent events, such as a holiday or visit with a relative may not be remembered. Obvious mistakes in remembering the day of the week, month or season of the year may occur.
Persons at this stage can still generally recall their correct current address they can usually correctly remember the weather conditions outside. Significant current events, including the name of a prominent head of state, will likely be recalled easily. Despite the obvious deficits in cognition, persons at this stage can still potentially survive independently in community settings.
Coping With Alzheimer’s Progression
The progression of Alzheimers disease is a mind-bender to deal with. Each stage puts new demands and strains on the patient and their informal and professional caregivers. Education can help immensely throughout this process, so it is important for family members to learn as much as they can about this condition, ask questions of medical professionals and seek out advice and support from other caregivers who have had first-hand experience with Alzheimers. Caring for someone with AD takes a super-human effort, and embarking on this journey alone should not be an option. This is a difficult disease where community support can make all the difference. Be sure to get help for your loved one and get help for yourself.
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