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How Many Stages Of Dementia Are There

Stage : Very Severe Mental Decline/severe Dementia Quality Of Life: Very Severe Impact

What are the stages of dementia?

Your loved one will not remember any of the past or recognize loved ones. He or she will have likely lost the ability to make healthcare decisions. You will need 24-hour care in the home for day-to-day activities. You may see your loved one:

  • Lose the ability to speak, eat or swallow.
  • Not be able to use the toilet or get dressed without help.
  • Not be able to walk or sit without help.
  • Loss of language skills throughout this stage
  • Lose all bladder and bowel control.
  • Loss of muscle control

Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Lewy bodies are deposits of protein that develop throughout the brain, including in the cerebral cortex, which oversees language and thinking. They damage and kill nerves in the brain over time.

In the early stages of dementia with Lewy bodies, alertness and attentiveness may vary wildly from day to day or even throughout the same day.

People with this type of dementia may hallucinate, and they often feel persecuted as a result.

The symptoms may start to resemble Alzheimers as this type of dementia progresses, with episodes of memory loss, shouting, and confrontational behavior. These symptoms can be especially challenging for caregivers.

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.

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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.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia

Seven Stages of Dementia

Signs and symptoms of dementia result when once-healthy neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die. While everyone loses some neurons as they age, people with dementia experience far greater loss.

The symptoms of dementia can vary and may include:

  • Experiencing memory loss, poor judgment, and confusion
  • Difficulty speaking, understanding and expressing thoughts, or reading and writing
  • Wandering and getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
  • Trouble handling money responsibly and paying bills
  • Repeating questions
  • Not caring about other peoples feelings
  • Losing balance and problems with movement

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also develop dementia as they age, and recognizing their symptoms can be particularly difficult. Its important to consider a persons current abilities and to monitor for changes over time that could signal dementia.

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What Medications Are Available To Treat Dementia

Drugs approved for the most common form of dementia, Alzheimers disease, are discussed below. These drugs are also used to treat people with some of the other forms of dementia.

  • cholinesterase inhibitors
  • NMDA receptor antagonist memantine

These two classes of drugs affect different chemical processes in the brain. Both classes have been shown to provide some benefit in improving or stabilizing memory function in some patients. Although none of these drugs appear to stop the progression of the underlying disease, they may slow it down.

If other medical conditions are causing dementia or co-exist with dementia, the appropriate drugs used to treat those specific conditions are prescribed.

Where To Live With Dementia

Eventually, caregiving for someone with dementia wont be appropriate anymore. The needs of a person with progressive dementia become overwhelming, and moving into a full-time residence with trained staff becomes necessary. You should plan for this well before it becomes necessary, by visiting communities and asking the right questions.

Depending on your loved ones stage of illness, different living options are available:

Assisted Living in Early StagesAssisted living residences combine room and board with medical and personal care, and are often sufficient for someone in the early stages of Alzheimers disease or related dementia. Full-time supervision means residents are safe, with living units like private studios or apartments so someone with mild dementia can still feel a sense of independence.

Services offered in assisted living include meals, help with activities of daily living , social activities, and transportation to and from doctors appointments. Before moving in, the residence will assess your loved one to make sure its a good fit.

Memory care residences have physical designs that are appropriate for people with dementia. Someone with Alzheimers, for instance, may become upset when encountering a wall, so memory care buildings have circular hallways. Because people with dementia are prone to wander, memory care residences have increased security and supervision, and special locks on doors.

Did You Know?

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Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease


  • Problems recognizing friends and family
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Difficulty resisting the impulse to use or touch objects
  • Compulsive eating
  • Trouble following instructions or learning new information
  • Hallucination or delusions
  • Poor judgment

Typical age of diagnosis for Alzheimers disease: Mid-60s and above, with some cases in mid-30s to 60s

Typical age of diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia: Between 45 and 64

Typical age of diagnosis of Lewy body dementia: 50 or older

Typical age of diagnosis of vascular dementia: Over 65

Stage : Very Severe Cognitive Declinesevere Dementia

What are the different stages of dementia? The 3 stage and 7 stage models explained

At this stage, AD persons require continuous assistance with basic activities of daily life for survival. Six consecutive functional substages can be identified over the course of this final seventh stage. Early in this stage, speech has become so circumscribed, as to be limited to approximately a half-dozen intelligible words or fewer . As this stage progresses, speech becomes even more limited to, at most, a single intelligible word . Once intelligible speech is lost, the ability to ambulate independently , is invariably lost. However, ambulatory ability may be compromised at the end of the sixth stage and in the early portion of the seventh stage by concomitant physical disability, poor care, medication side-effects or other factors. Conversely, superb care provided in the early seventh stage, and particularly in stage 7b, can postpone the onset of loss of ambulation. However, under ordinary circumstances, stage 7a has a mean duration of approximately 1 year, and stage 7b has a mean duration of approximately 1.5 years.

In persons with AD who remain alive, stage 7c lasts approximately 1 year, after which persons with AD lose the ability not only to ambulate independently but also to sit up independently , At this point in the evolution, the person will fall over when seated unless there are armrests to assist in sitting up in the chair.

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Why It Is Useful To Know The Stages Of Dementia

A categorization of dementia stage can help inform plans for treatment and care. There is currently no cure for dementia, but there are medications that may help manage or slow some of the symptoms. It can also be important to know the disease stage to determine whether your loved one may be eligible for clinical trials. Understanding the stage of dementia can also help guide care needs as the disease progresses. Typically, in the early stages of dementia, individuals can still function relatively independently. In the middle stages, they will begin to need more assistance with some activities of daily living. Eventually, in the late stage, they will need assistance with all activities of daily living.

During these later stages of dementia, the caregivers goals often shift to focusing on preserving the persons comfort and quality of life. And although individuals may lose the ability to communicate, research suggests that aspects of the person and his or her former self still remain. This means that you may still be able to have meaningful interactions in the later stages of the disease. Suggested ways to do this include playing their favorite music or using their favorite scents anything to foster a connection and bring them joy.

Very Mild Impairment Or Normal Forgetfulness

Alzheimers disease mainly affects older adults, over the age of 65. At this age, its common to have slight functional difficulties like forgetfulness.

But for stage 2 Alzheimers, the decline will happen at a greater rate than similarly aged people without Alzheimers. For example, a person may forget familiar words, a family members name, or where they placed something.

Caregiver support: Symptoms at stage 2 wont interfere with work or social activities. Memory troubles are still very mild and may not be apparent to friends and family.

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Stage : Moderate Cognitive Decline

Stage 4 is often referred to as the mild dementia stage. When an individual enters this period, he or she will clearly demonstrate deficits when given cognitive examinations.

During Stage 4, you can expect your family member or friend to show continued difficulties with concentration as well as trouble recalling recent events. Short-term memory issues may include things like forgetting what they ate for lunch that day. Memories about past events may begin to fade or become increasingly hard to recall.

Additionally, individuals at this stage of dementia find it hard to operate independently. You may notice they cannot manage their finances, or do not pay bills consistently or on time. The person may not be able to travel alone, especially to unfamiliar areas.

Social anxiety is common during this period. If you notice your family member or friend begin to withdraw themselves from social interactions, it may be due to memory difficulties. They may not remember names and begin to forget personal histories.

Lastly, he or she may also feel in denial about the symptoms and wont want to accept medical assistance. At this stage, a diagnosis from a physician is most likely and a care plan would be recommended. A caregiver may need to assist with managing finances and driving duties. The person will also need a lot of emotional support during this difficult time. Although timeframes for this stage will vary, Stage 4 lasts an average of two years.

What Are The Average Life Expectancy Figures For The Most Common Types Of Dementia

Senile or Old 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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How Long Do The 7 Stages Of Dementia Last

If youre wondering how long do the 7 stages of dementia last?, there is no clear-cut answer.

The beginning stages are difficult to identify for the average person, so that makes it harder to pinpoint an expected duration of these stages.

However, once early dementia hits, patients tend to stay in each stage for about two years before progressing to the next one.

Some stages can last a little longer while others might be a bit shorter .

Stage : Very Mild Changes

You still might not notice anything amiss in your loved one’s behavior, but they may be picking up on small differences, things that even a doctor doesn’t catch. This could include forgetting words or misplacing objects.

At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with their ability to work or live independently.

Keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer’s at all, but simply normal changes from aging.

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Getting Proper Care For Loved Ones Experiencing Vascular Dementia

If your loved one is living with vascular dementia, it is important to ensure they are safe, comfortable, and living life to the fullest. In most cases, you can find the support they need inside exceptional senior living communities. Senior living residences can provide not only a supervised environment that is designed to reduce fall risk and other safety hazards, but also a social and vibrant environment that allows your loved one to interact with new friends and pursue their favorite passions with the right amount of assistance and adaptations.

At Legend Senior Living, we offer a variety of senior living solutions that can meet the needs of someone living with vascular dementia. For example, our memory care communities are staffed with specially trained team members who are experienced with the best practices of dementia care. They are there to provide personalized assistance and encouraging words, as well as be there in case of emergency.

For someone who has recently had a stroke or who is recovering after an intense hospital stay, any of Legends skilled nursing communities can offer the around-the-clock clinical supervision that will help to enhance independence. Our skilled communities also feature on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapy services so that your loved one can recover before returning to their chosen home.

Sixth Dementia Stage: Severe Decline

Recognizing The Early Stages of Dementia

The sixth stage of dementia is the second to last stage where patients may require constant supervision as well as around the clock or 24/7 medical care. If a person cannot receive proper care at home at this point, it is best to look for assisted living centers near you or nursing homes which also specializes in taking care of patients who have dementia . Symptoms that people usually showcase in the 6th stage of dementia include:

  • Unawareness or confusion of surroundings and environment
  • Wandering
  • Need for assistance with day to day activities like bathing, dressing, toileting, eating and incontinence
  • Potential behavioral problems as well as personality changes
  • Inability to recall most details about their history
  • Failure to recognize faces apart from very close relatives and friends
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Loss of willpower

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Stages Of Dementia: The 3

  • There are different forms of dementia Alzheimers is the most common
  • Dementia progresses in three stages: Mild , Moderate , and Severe
  • The 7-stage model of dementia which breaks down the cognitive decline is useful for Alzheimers
  • The Clinical Dementia Rating Scale can be used to assess other forms of dementia
  • The progression of dementia can vary widely by the type of dementia and by person
  • Understanding the stages of dementia can help guide care needs as the disease progresses

Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Many people living with dementia are officially diagnosed during stage four, which is when physicians are able to pinpoint cognitive decline with an exam. At this point, the patient will likely present symptoms such as life-disrupting forgetfulness and out-of-character difficulty performing daily responsibilities. It may become more challenging for those with stage four dementia to manage finances or navigate to new locations.

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Stages Of Vascular Dementia

Unlike Alzheimers disease and other types of progressive dementia, there are not 7 stages of vascular dementia.

However, there are 7 stages of dementia that clinicians typically use to assess adults living with cognitive decline. Those 7 stages are:

  • Stage 1 – no cognitive decline

Some detailed brain scans might show some changes to the brain, but in this stage, the adult does not show any signs of cognitive decline.

  • Stage 2 – very mild cognitive decline

The person might begin to forget specific words or misplace things occasionally. This will likely go unnoticed by their family, friends, and partner.

  • Stage 3 – mild cognitive decline

During this stage, family members might begin to notice that the person has some short-term memory loss or is not quite as organized as they were in the past.

  • Stage 4 – moderate cognitive decline

In this stage, the person likely knows they are forgetting and therefore stops attending social events or programs that they once enjoyed. This is also often the stage when a physician is called in and a dementia diagnosis is made.

  • Stage 5 – moderately severe cognitive decline

In this stage, the person has noticeable cognitive decline and forgetfulness. They struggle with making good decisions and likely will need assistance with personal hygiene tasks.

  • Stage 6 – Severe cognitive decline

The person needs extensive assistance with daily tasks. They also are more likely to become anxious and confused they may wander regularly.

How Quickly Does Dementia Usually Progress

Safety in Dementia

There are 7 signs of dementia and each stage where signs present themselves can last for different lengths of time.

Symptoms could progress differently from patient to patient.

Once early dementia hits and loss of cognitive function becomes more noticeable, it becomes easier to identify how quickly dementia might progress.

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