What Is The Life Expectancy For Someone With Dementia
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer as there are many influencing factors, including the persons age and gender, the type of dementia and the stage of the condition at diagnosis. The average life expectancy after diagnosis for someone with Alzheimers, the most common form of dementia is 10 years. However, dementia progresses differently in everyone, meaning people can live anywhere from 2 years to 26 years after diagnosis.
The main way in which health care professionals estimate dementia life expectancy is by using the Global Deterioration Scale , also called the Reisberg Scale. It shows the average time someone is expected to live depending on which stage of dementia they are at.
|Stage||Expected Life Expectancy|
|Stage 1: No cognitive decline||N/A|
|Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline||Unknown|
|Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline||2-7 years|
|Stage 4: Moderate cognitive decline||2 years|
|Stage 5: Moderately severe cognitive decline||1.5 years|
|Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline||2.5 years|
|Stage 7: Very Severe cognitive decline||1.5 to 2.5 years||2.5 years or less|
Stage : Very Mild Changes In Behavior
Jumping into stage 2 will show very mild changes in behavior. The symptoms can be simple and are usually not caught by doctors.
Simple signs such as misplacing objects or finding the right words to say may be a sign that someone is in the second stage.
The symptoms may be missed because it can often be attributed to signs of aging.
At this point, the signs are still manageable and can still allow the person affected to work normally.
This stage may run for at least seven years.
What To Do Next After Learning What Stage Of Alzheimer’s Disease Your Loved One Is In
As mentioned, learning about the stage of Alzheimers disease that a loved one is experiencing helps provide perspective and context. This knowledge makes it easier to have conversations with doctors about the patients condition and how to approach future treatment options. Understanding the later stages of the disease also helps when planning for lifestyle changes, new equipment, and other items that may be needed. One of the other major benefits in understanding the overall progression of Alzheimers disease is preparing for future living arrangements, such a memory care community, that could become a preferred option during later stages of the disease. Because the cost of dementia care is high, families should begin planning as soon as possible following a diagnosis.
Recommended Reading: Does Bobby Knight Have Dementia
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.
Changes In Mood Emotions And Perceptions
Changes in mood remain in the later stages of dementia. Depression and apathy are particularly common.
Delusions and hallucinations are most common in the late stage of dementia. They are not always distressing but they can explain some changes in behaviour because the persons perception of reality is altered.
People with later stage dementia often respond more to senses than words. They may like listening to songs or enjoy textures. For example, they may like the feel of different types of material.
You May Like: How To Stop Alzheimer’s Patient From Picking Skin
How To Identify Your Loved Ones Current Stage
The Clinical Dementia Rating Scale is designed to evaluate the stages of dementia. It uses a 5-point scale to assess the severity of symptoms as they affect the persons ability to function in six different cognitive categories . Although created for those with probable Alzheimers disease, the CDR can also be used to assess other forms of dementia . Administering the CDR can help healthcare providers gain a better sense of the severity of dementia in order to create an appropriate care plan. If you are interested in having the CDR administered, you should talk to your doctor.
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.
Don’t Miss: Alzheimer Ribbon
Stage : Subjective Memory Lossage Related Forgetfulness
Many people over the age of 65 complain of cognitive and/or functional difficulties. Elderly persons with these symptoms report that they can no longer remember names as easily as they could 5 or 10 years previously they can also have trouble recalling where they have recently placed things.
Various terms have been suggested for this condition, but subjective cognitive decline is presently the widely accepted terminology. These symptoms by definition, are not notable to intimates or other external observers of the person with subjective cognitive decline. Persons with these symptoms decline at higher rates than similarly aged persons and similarly healthy persons who are free of subjective complaints. Research has shown that this stage of subjective cognitive decline lasts 15 years in otherwise healthy persons.
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
Recommended Reading: Alzheimer’s Lack Of Neurotransmitter
Stage : Moderately Severe Alzheimers
In stage five, major memory deficiencies begin to further affect ones daily life. At this stage, a person will often begin to forget details about themselves, such as their address or phone number. They may also lose their orientation to space and time more frequently. At this stage, a person may begin requiring additional assistance with basic daily tasks, such as getting dressed and preparing meals. They will, however, often retain functionality in other areas of their lives for example, they may still be able to bathe and use the bathroom independently. They will also likely still remember their loved ones and much of their personal history, including childhood.
Common Difficulties of Moderately Severe Alzheimers
- Losing track of where they are, and what time it is
- Trouble remembering personal details, such as address and phone number
- Difficulty with everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, eating and preparing meals
- Daytime and nighttime confusion, or trouble sleeping
What To Do If You Or A Loved One Might Have Dementia
If you or a loved one suspect that you have dementia, you must seek out medical council immediately.
Your doctor will ask you and your caregiver a series of questions to figure out what stage of dementia youre at. These might include some mental tests, including the Mini-Mental State Examination.
This exam has 11 questions to help pinpoint any issues with cognitive decline. The scores range from 0-30, with 30 being the best score and 0 being the lowest.
They may also ask you to complete simple tasks, such as drawing a clock.
If you have received a diagnosis, you need to talk to your family members about your plan of treatment. This can include nursing facilities and treatment programs.
You May Like: Dementia Neurotransmitter
Stage : Moderate Decline
During this period, the problems in thinking and reasoning that you noticed in stage 3 get more obvious, and new issues appear. Your friend or family member might:
- Forget details about themselves
- Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check
- Forget what month or season it is
- Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu
- Struggle to use the telephone
- Not understand what is said to them
- Struggle to do tasks with multiple steps like cleaning the house.
You can help with everyday chores and their safety. Make sure they aren’t driving anymore, and that no one tries to take advantage of them financially.
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.
Don’t Miss: Ribbon Color For Alzheimer’s
Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Declinemoderate Dementia
In this stage, deficits are of sufficient magnitude as to prevent catastrophe-free, independent community survival. The characteristic functional change in this stage is early deficits in basic activities of daily life. This is manifest in a decrement in the ability to choose the proper clothing to wear for the weather conditions or for everyday circumstances. Some persons with Alzheimers disease begin to wear the same clothing day after day unless reminded to change. The mean duration of this stage is 1.5 years.
The person with Alzheimers disease can no longer manage on their own. There is generally someone who is assisting in providing adequate and proper food, as well as assuring that the rent and utilities are paid and the finances are taken care of. For those who are not properly supervised, predatory strangers may become a problem. Very common reactions for persons at this stage who are not given adequate support are behavioral problems such as anger and suspiciousness.
Cognitively, persons at this stage frequently cannot recall major events and aspects of their current life such as the name of the current head of state, the weather conditions of the day, or their correct current address. Characteristically, some of these important aspects of current life are recalled, but not others. Also, the information is loosely held, so, for example, the person with moderate Alzheimers disease may recall their correct address on certain occasions, but not others.
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
Also Check: What Color Is The Dementia Ribbon
How Many Stages Of Dementia Are There
There are several different types of Dementia, with Alzheimers disease being the most common. Though when it comes to the different stages of Dementia, we can typically categorise the trajectory of the disease as mild, moderate or severe.
Although this three stage model is useful for providing an overview of early, middle and final stages of Dementia, most people prefer a seven stage model that breaks cognitive decline down into seven specific categories. The progression of Dementia will be different for everyone, but knowing where a loved one falls on this scale can help to identify signs and symptoms, whilst also determining the most appropriate care needs. So, what are the 7 stages of Dementia?
Stage : Moderately Severe Decline
Your loved one might start to lose track of where they are and what time it is. They might have trouble remembering their address, phone number, or where they went to school. They could get confused about what kind of clothes to wear for the day or season.
You can help by laying out their clothing in the morning. It can help them dress by themselves and keep a sense of independence.
If they repeat the same question, answer with an even, reassuring voice. They might be asking the question less to get an answer and more to just know you’re there.
Even if your loved one can’t remember facts and details, they might still be able to tell a story. Invite them to use their imagination at those times.
Recommended Reading: Does Prevagen Help With Dementia
Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Persons at this stage manifest deficits which are subtle, but which are noted by persons who are closely associated with the person with mild cognitive impairment. The subtle deficits may become manifest in diverse ways. For example, a person with mild cognitive impairment may noticeably repeat queries. The capacity to perform executive functions also becomes compromised. Commonly, for persons who are still working in complex occupational settings, job performance may decline. For those required to master new job skills, such as a computer or other machinery, decrements in these capacities may become evident.
MCI persons who are not employed, but who plan complex social events, such as dinner parties, may manifest declines in their ability to organize such events. This may be an early stage of Alzheimers, however, it is important for the person to seek medical help as soon as possible, to determine if a broad variety of medical conditions may be causing or contributing to the persons difficulties. Blood tests and an MRI of the brain should be obtained to assist in determining if the individual has MCI due to Alzheimers and whether there are other causes or contributing conditions to the persons cognitive decline.
Some MCI persons may manifest concentration deficits. Many persons with these symptoms begin to experience anxiety, which may be overtly evident.
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.
Recommended Reading: Karen Vieth Edgar Knight
Very Advanced And Terminal Dementia
You may also encounter terms such as very advanced dementia,very late-stage dementia,end-stage dementia or terminal dementia.
Very advanced and late-stage usually mean the person has become bed-bound, cannot speak, and has to be spoon-fed. Eventually, people in this stage will have difficulty swallowing as well.
How long this very advanced stage of dementia lasts really depends on the person, and on their other health conditions. In this stage, the mind seems gone but the body remains able enough to keep living, as long as food and a safe, supportive environment are provided.
Because in otherwise healthy people this stage can last for a few years, I dont consider very advanced dementia to be synonymous with end-stage or terminal dementia.
Now, its important to remember that Alzheimers and most other dementias are technically terminal diseases, meaning that unless another health problem kills someone first, the dementia does inevitably progress and results in the persons death.
But, we dont usually refer to people with dementia as terminally ill. Thats because Alzheimers and other dementias usually progress very slowly. So it can take ten years or even longer for a person to die of Alzheimers.
How to know if its end-stage or terminal dementia?
Doctors generally refer to someone as terminally ill when we have reason to believe they are likely to die within the next 6-12 months of their disease.