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.
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.
Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Precursor To Dementia
Many people experience a certain amount of normal cognitive decline as they age needing extra time to connect a persons name with their face, say, or to recall a computer password.
Mild cognitive impairment is more significant than that, involving lapses in memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are noticeable to the person and perhaps his or her own family and close friends yet not serious enough to interfere with everyday life.
About 15 to 20 percent of people age 65 or older are estimated to have mild cognitive impairment.
Researchers believe that mild cognitive impairment may be a precursor to dementia. A meta-analysis of 41 studies, cited by the Alzheimers Association, found that among people with MCI who were tracked for five years or longer, an average of 38 percent developed dementia.
Yet some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few actually get better. Researchers are working to understand why.
Signs of mild cognitive impairment may include:
- Forgetting things or important events
- Losing your train of thought or the thread of a conversation, book, or movie
- Having trouble making your way around a familiar place
- Becoming more impulsive or showing poor judgment
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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
Understanding Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia symptoms are so similar to those of other forms of dementia that LBD can be misdiagnosed. This might make more sense when you consider that there are many types of dementia.
It may help to think of dementia as one large “umbrella” that slowly robs people of their ability to think, talk, remember, and use their bodies. Many diseases crowd underneath this umbrella, including:
- Alzheimers disease
- Struggle with incontinence
With dementia with Lewy bodies, cognitive changes may appear earlier than, about the same time, or shortly after any physical changes surface.
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What Causes Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia occurs when vessels that supply blood to the brain become blocked or narrowed. Strokes take place when the supply of blood carrying oxygen to the brain is suddenly cut off. However, not all people with stroke will develop vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia can occur over time as silent strokes pile up. Quite often, vascular dementia draws attention to itself only when the impact of so many strokes adds up to significant disability. Avoiding and controlling risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol can help curb the risk of vascular dementia.
Catching the condition early also helps limit the impact and severity of vascular dementia. Early detection requires an awareness of risk factors and, more importantly, efforts to keep them under control. Anyone who suspects vascular dementia should talk with their doctor.
How Does Dog Dementia Progress
How fast does dog dementia progress? There are 3 stages in dog dementia.
|Different stages||Symptoms observed|
|Stage 1: Mild||At this stage, I observed very small changes in my dog. It started to have fewer social interactions and irregular sleeping schedules. At first, I thought that it was just anxiety.|
|Stage 2: Moderate.||At this stage, I observed it walking up all night. It was causing a lot of disturbance at night. My dog forgets my training. Sometimes it used to bark for a very long time without any reason.|
|Stage 3: Severe||This is the final stage. At this stage, my dog was barking all night without any reason. The nights were unbearable. It also started not to respond to my calling and also used to pee and poop indoors and panting.|
It is a lot better if you identify it when it is in stage 1. I found that my dog was suffering from dementia after stage 2. If you find it early, then you can go for some treatments. The quality of life diminishes a lot at stage 2 and becomes worse at stage 3.
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Why Might Dementia Progress Quickly
Alzheimers disease typically has a slow and gradual progression, whereas people affected by vascular dementia tend to show periodic, step-wise impairments in function. However, many factors have an impact on the development of dementia. An individuals genetic heritage will play a role, as does their general, physical health. People with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, especially if they are poorly controlled, are at risk of a faster deterioration. People who are frail with low immunity and recurrent infections are also vulnerable. Young-onset dementia tends to progress more rapidly. People who develop dementia between the ages of thirty and fifty, appear to live two years less than those whose dementia is diagnosed later in life.
Most cases of sudden confusion and rapidly progressing dementia in an elderly person are due to delirium caused by infection. Urinary infections and pneumonia can trigger acute confusion that comes on quickly, causing people to be incoherent, muddled and disorientated. Agitation, aggression and odd behaviour are also common. The good news is that the symptoms of delirium can be reversed when the infection is appropriately treated.
Can Dementia Get Worse Suddenly
Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning that it gets worse over time. The speed of deterioration differs between individuals. Age, general health and the underlying disease causing brain damage will all affect the pattern of progression. However, for some people the decline can be sudden and rapid.
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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.
The Seven Stages Of Dementia
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.
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What Are Signs That Dementia Is Getting Worse
increasing confusion or poor judgment. greater memory loss, including a loss of events in the more distant past. needing assistance with tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, and grooming. significant personality and behavior changes, often caused by agitation and unfounded suspicion.
When Is Memory Care Needed
Memory care is specialized care for seniors with dementia. It includes 24-hour supervision to prevent wandering, help with ADLs, meal services, and, often, health care as needed.
Memory care can be beneficial from the early stages of dementia through the end of life. Specially designed memory care activities, dining plans, and exercise programs cater to all seven stages of dementia in elderly loved ones.
When to seek memory care will vary depending on a seniors dementia symptoms, health status, living situation, and more. Reach out to our free, local Senior Living Advisors to discuss memory care and dementia home care options for your family.
Reisberg, B., Ferris, S.H., de Leon, M.J., and Crook, T. The global deterioration scale for assessment of primary degenerative dementia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1982:
National Institute on Aging, What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?:
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The Progression Of Dementia
Many types of dementia exist. They are all progressive.
As the disease progresses, the structure and chemistry of the brain become damaged. This leads to the following:
- Problems with short and long term memory
- Inability to clearly communicate
How fast these effects appear depends on the individual. Each dementia sufferer is unique. The disease progresses depending on factors that no two people share. For example, the rate of progression of dementia often relies upon:
- The physical make-up of the person
- The emotional resilience of the person
- Medication prescribed
- Medical conditions he has had over the years
- The support the person has around him
As dementia progresses, sufferers need more support, especially with daily living skills. Since behavior and mood changes with the later stages of the disease, many family members find it difficult to continue providing care.
Risk Factors To Consider
Although AD isnt an expected part of advancing age, youre at increased risk as you get older. More than 32 percent of people over age 85 have Alzheimers.
You may also have an increased risk of developing AD if a parent, sibling, or child has the disease. If more than one family member has AD, your risk increases.
The exact cause of early onset AD hasnt been fully determined. Many researchers believe that this disease develops as the result of multiple factors rather than one specific cause.
Researchers have discovered rare genes that may directly cause or contribute to AD. These genes may be carried from one generation to the next within a family. Carrying this gene can result in adults younger than age 65 developing symptoms much earlier than expected.
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The 7 Stages Of Dementia And Symptoms For Each
Understanding the dementia timeline is key to making thoughtful medical and personal decisions regarding memory care. Learn to recognize warning signs during the early stages of dementia to secure a diagnosis, then review common symptoms of moderate and late stage dementia to help you prepare for the future. Knowing milestones to look for throughout the dementia stages will help you determine when its time to reassess your family members care needs.
How Do You Treat Dementia In Dogs
How do you treat dementia in dogs? Unfortunately, we dont have a specific treatment that can completely cure dog dementia. However, some treatments can mask these symptoms. You can visit a good vet if you want to know where to start. These treatments generally include new training methods that can improve the cognitive functions of your dog.
My dog got dementia, is he suffering? When to put a dog down due to dementia? Some say that changing a dogs diet can improve its condition. They say that providing foods rich in antioxidants can help improve its cognitive functions. You can try it if you want.
However, you need to take extra care of your dog while it is suffering from dementia. You need to make it exercise, keep its food and water near to it always, and train its brain with some exercises.
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Middle Stage Or Moderate Dementia
As they progress through the seven stages of dementia, elderly people require more intense care and supervision. Someone with middle stage dementia often needs some caregiver assistance with regular day-to-day activities, such as dressing, eating, or bathing.
Dementia stage 5: moderately severe cognitive decline
This stage marks the onset of what many professionals refer to as mid-stage in the seven stages of dementia.
At this point, a person may no longer be able to carry out normal activities of daily living , such as dressing or bathing, without some caregiver assistance. They know major facts about themselves such as their name and their childrens names but they may not remember grandchildrens names, their longtime address, or where they went to high school.
Stage 5 dementia symptoms
- Further reduced mental acuity and problem-solving ability
How Much Time Can Treatment Add
Treatment will not prevent the progression of AD. It is also unclear if treatment can add time to a persons life. Ultimately, AD will progress and take its toll on the brain and body. As it progresses, symptoms and side effects will get worse.
However, a few medications may be able to slow the progression of AD at least for a short time. Treatment can also improve your quality of life and help treat symptoms. Talk with your doctor about your treatment options.
study identified several factors that affect a persons life expectancy. These include:
- Gender: A 2004 study found that men lived an average of 4.2 years after their initial diagnosis. Women were found to live an average of 5.7 years after their diagnosis.
- Severity of symptoms: People with significant motor impairment, such as a history of falls and a tendency to wander or walk away, had shorter life expectancies.
- Brain abnormalities: The study also detected a connection between brain and spinal cord abnormalities and the length of life.
- Other health problems: People with heart disease, a history of heart attack, or diabetes had shorter lifespans than patients without these complicating health factors.
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How Long Does It Take For Dementia To Progress
How long does each stage of dementia last?
On average, individuals with vascular dementia typically live about 5 years after their symptoms begin. Those with Dementia with Lewy bodies typically live 6-12 years after their symptoms first develop, and those with frontotemporal dementia live an average of 6-8 years after symptoms first manifest.
what are the 7 stages of dementia?
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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Focus On Early Intervention
Dr. Karen Overall covers the title question in her book, Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats.
Q: How long will the dog have left if he or she is treated?A: We cannot know the answer to this question, but the earlier intervention is attempted, the greater the likelihood of a longer and happier life. Overall, the amount of life left will increase , but the Quality of Life will increase even more.
Some board certified veterinary behaviorists will do long distance consults via telephone or video conferencing with you and your local veterinarian. You can search the directory of members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists to find some help for your dog and your family.
The two studies I cited almost seem to contradict each other. One says that dogs with dementia may have the same life expectancy as those without. The other describes the fast progression of the disease. More research will surely be done on both of these fronts. But the results arent really contradictory. What they do tell us, though, is that if our dog shows any signs of cognitive abnormality, medical help is in order. This can even be done as a preventative measure as Dr. Christensen describes.