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What Are The 4 Stages Of Dementia

Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia

Four Stages of Dementia: The Early Stage

Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.

Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:

  • personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
  • lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
  • language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
  • becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking

Read more about frontotemporal dementia.

Where To Get Help

  • Your local community health centre
  • National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
  • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
  • My Aged Care 1800 200 422
  • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
  • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
  • Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centres Australian Government Tel. 1800 052 222
  • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

Stage : Mild Dementia

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

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Becoming A Caregiver For A Loved One With Dementia

A caregiver is someone who provides assistance to another person who is no longer able to take care of themselves due to illness, injury, or aging. An informal caregiver is someone who isnt paid for their services while formal caregivers are paid and often have special training.

During the first few of the 7 stages of dementia, acting as a loved ones caregiver is more a matter of having some time away from other responsibilities. You might stop by their home on your way from work to help with meal preparation or to do their laundry.

As their condition progresses, they require more care. For any elderly person living alone in their home, safety is always an issue. Dementia patients have a much higher risk of getting hurt because they leave the stove on, fall, or wonder off and get lost.

Thousands of adult children struggle with the decision to take their parents with dementia out of their homes. Many adult children cant understand why their parents insist on staying at home even when they arent able to perform basic daily activities without assistance. Whether an aging person is capable of making their own decisions about where to live or not, quality of life should always factor into the decision. For dementia patients, it means getting the right level of care for each stage of the disease and making the most of the life that they have left.

What Does Stage 6 Look Like

Understanding the Stages of Dementia

Stage 6 can be considered the beginning of late-stage or severe dementia. The person will become so dependent on their caregiver that they will require 24/7 supervision and assistance for just about everything. They may start losing their ability to speak and have increasingly severe mobility issues. At this stage, many family members and caregivers find that its necessary to move the individual into a specialized memory care community.

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New Developments In Pharmacological Management

When it is not possible to relieve pain by either targeting the cause of pain and/or applying nonpharmacological strategies alone, pharmacological treatment of pain is necessary and remains a cornerstone in the care for people with dementia. The overall use of analgesics in nursing home patients is increasing worldwide. Dementia is common among nursing home patients, and despite concern that pain may be underdiagnosed in people with dementia, several studies have found that in more recent cohorts, nursing home patients with dementia were no less likely to receive analgesics compared to those without., However, these findings were predominantly from Scandinavian countries.

Caring For A Loved One With Alzheimers

Because the Alzheimers stages timeline can vary drastically from person to person, it can be difficult to decide when should someone with Alzheimers go into care. People with Alzheimers disease generally live between three and eight years after diagnosis, but patients can survive 20 years or more. Alzheimers progressively worsens over many years. So catching the symptoms as early as possible is critical in giving your loved one the maximum amount of time.

When assisting your loved one with the activities of their daily lives is now longer tenable, its time to look into Alzheimers care facilities. In many cases, the need for advanced assistance becomes apparent around Stage Four and Stage Five. For example, when dementia becomes so severe the person isnt mobile enough to make it to the bathroom by themselves, or when a person begins wandering out of the house and risks serious injury, their caregiver must be able to lift the person without hurting themselves. Alzheimers care facilities have staff specifically trained to assist people with moderate to severe dementia for these exact scenarios.

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Stage : Moderate Cognitive Decline

In stage 4, the individual will experience difficulty concentrating, decreased memory of recent events, and difficulty managing their finances or traveling alone to a new location. They may have trouble completing complex tasks. At this stage, they may be in denial about their symptoms and may also start withdrawing from family or friends because socialization becomes challenging. At stage 4, a doctor can detect clear cognitive problems during a patient exam.

What Is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Four Stages of Dementia: The Final Stage

According to the Alzheimers Association, CTE is a brain disease that typically occurs after repeated traumatic brain injuries . Its progressive and fatal and is associated with concussions and repeated blows to the head from sports, accidents, or other incidents. People who have had a TBI in early to midlife are 200% to 400% more likely to develop dementia later in their lives, and it appears the risk may increase for those who have had several TBIs. The disease is progressive and doctors can track four stages of CTE as the patient moves through them.

CTE is a progressive change in the brain characterized by inflammation in the nervous system and the abnormal build-up of a protein called tau. The condition can lead to memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, and, eventually, full-blown dementia. – The Alzheimers Society, United Kingdom

CTEs biological signature is the development of tangles of a toxic build-up of a protein called tau in the crevasses in the brains wrinkles . Only through an autopsy of the brain can it be determined if someone has had CTE and not another type of neurodegenerative disorder or brain injury.

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The Second Stage: Moderate Alzheimers Dementia

In most cases of moderate Alzheimers dementia, the disease has spread to areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought, causing previous symptoms to become more pronounced.

Damage to the brain can make it difficult for people to say what theyre thinking or complete basic tasks, such as paying bills.

But they may still remember important details about their personal history.

This is typically the longest stage, potentially lasting for many years.

Symptoms of this period may include:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion, including forgetting names or personally significant events
  • Trouble recognizing family and friends
  • Inability to learn new things or cope with new situations
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • Behavioral problems, such as moodiness or inappropriate anger outbursts
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, and increased risk of wandering, especially in the late afternoon or evening

Stages Of Frontotemporal Dementia

The rate at which FTD progresses varies greatly and research has found that the differences between different types of FTD become less obvious as dementia progresses. Those who originally exhibited symptoms of behavioural variants may eventually experience language difficulties and similarly, a person originally diagnosed with a language variant of FTD will typically develop behavioural problems. The symptoms and signs of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia are generally unaware of their behaviour and will rely on their loved ones to identify new and unusual characteristics.

Mild

Unlike Alzheimers, the early stage of frontotemporal dementia doesnt usually affect memory or cognitive functioning. Someone with FTD may go walking without obvious purpose but, unlike someone with Alzheimers, will return home without getting lost.

During the early stages of behavioural FTD, changes to personality and behaviour become noticeable. Typical behavioural changes include:

  • Becoming uncharacteristically selfish or apathetic
  • Acting impulsively
  • Confusion regarding the meaning of familiar words,
  • Difficulty in finding the right word
  • Difficulty with recognising familiar objects

Severe

In the later stages of all types of FTD, more structures of the brain become damaged. Someone living with later stages of FTD usually experiences symptoms that are similar to the later stages of Alzheimers disease such as:

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Stage : Very Mild Changes No Dementiaquality Of Life: Little To No Impact

You still might not notice any changes in your loved one. Youll see daily memory problems that look like a normal part of aging. You may see:

  • Some difficulty finding the right words.
  • The ability to make up for memory problems, such as substituting one word for another.
  • Normal functioning in the home, community, and workplace.

How You Can Help:

As with Stage 1, start to plan now. Use our tools to help your loved one document his or her values and priorities about the type of care wanted during the various stages of dementia.

You can also watch for new signs that you may not have seen before.

The Right Level Of Care For Each Of The 7 Stages Of Dementia

The four stages of dementia. Reprinted from reference 11 ...

As your loved ones dementia progresses, their needs and your responsibilities as a caregiver will also grow. That means putting more time and energy into your role, but it also means a greater emotional demand. You should plan in advance for what becoming a caregiver might mean to you. Although many people find it rewarding, it often has a negative impact on the caregivers finances, relationships, and their emotional and physical health.

Planning ahead is one of the most important things you can do for your loved one. It allows them to make important decisions for themselves. Most people dont want to be a burden to their loved ones. They do have choices other than staying in their current home or going into a nursing home. The right kind of senior living offers a level of medical and assisted care that will meet the growing needs of the resident. Giving your loved one access to professional dementia care according to their growing needs is the best thing for you and for them.

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End Stage Of Dementia

At the final stage of dementia, the brain has significantly atrophied, and seniors are mute and bed-bound. But, says Warchol, they still have their five senses intact and can respond and engage with anyone who stimulates them. We can help them feel loved, safe, warm, and engaged, or they can feel hopeless, frightened, and in pain if we dont treat them like human beings, she says.

Because even at this end stage, seniors are still capable of tracking with you as long as you bring activities down to the sensory level.

Abilities remain at every stage, says Warchol. Learning the characteristics of each stage can help the senior stay meaningfully engaged.

Phases Of The Condition

Some of the features of dementia are commonly classified into three stages or phases. It is important to remember that not all of these features will be present in every person, nor will every person go through every stage. However, it remains a useful description of the general progression of dementia.

  • Early Dementia
  • Advanced Dementia

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Stage : Moderate Alzheimer’s Dementia

Patients with moderate dementia can often “fake it” briefly, so that friends and family members may not fully recognize the level of decline. But at this stage, there is loss of awareness of one’s own environment, trouble remembering the name of close companions such as a spouse or caregiver, change in sleep patterns, loss of judgment, communication skills and coordination, tendency to wander and get lost, mood changes associated with anxiety and depression, and trouble tending to or controlling bladder and bowel functions. The patient can no longer live alone and the primary caregiver such as a spouse or adult child may need assistance from an aide or adult daycare center.

Memory Health Cte And Dementia

4 things to know about the stages of dementia

The Memory Health® supplement was the first brain supplement awarded a patent for the prevention and or treatment of neurodegenerative disease, specifically Alzheimers disease and dementia. It is currently available to everyone and delivers carotenoids and omega-3s directly through the blood-brain barrier to the brain.

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Caregiving In The Late Stages

According to the Alzheimers Association, the later stages will be the most difficult, as your loved one is now very frail and relies on you for most of their daily care. At this late stage, encouraging your loved one to eat and sleep will grow increasingly difficult. During this time, they may lose the ability to walk steadily, so an occupational therapist may help them stay mobile without falling. Gather a team of experts to help you, like a speech therapist to help with communication and a nutritionist to recommend the best food and alternative food options, like blended meals, smoothies, and finger foods, that boost the immunity and are packed with nutrition. Incontinence, severe memory loss and disorientation, immune system problems, repetitive movements, and strange or unusual behavior must all be managed during this stage as well.

Watching a loved one live with dementia is never easy. With the proper tools, you can help them navigate their symptoms to live an enriching life. Staying on top of the latest research with Google alerts and attending seminars from expert speakers and medical professionals will keep you up-to-date on new treatments and care techniques. Most importantly, find a supportive community. There are many support groups for caregivers where you can share your successes, frustrations, fears, and joys with other caregivers. Remember, you are not alone!

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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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.

Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia

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Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.

However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:

  • memory loss
  • difficulty concentrating
  • finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
  • struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • being confused about time and place
  • mood changes

These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.

You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.

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Facts About Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer disease is becoming more common as the general population gets older and lives longer. Alzheimer disease usually affects people older than 65. A small number of people have early-onset Alzheimer disease, which starts when they are in their 30s or 40s.

People live for an average of 8 years after their symptoms appear. But the disease can progress quickly in some people and slowly in others. Some people live as long as 20 years with the disease.

No one knows what causes Alzheimer disease. Genes, environment, lifestyle, and overall health may all play a role.

What Does Stage 3 Look Like

At this stage, the individual starts showing subtle signs of mild cognitive impairment that may only be noticeable to close friends and family. For example, someone may start repeating questions or telling a story over and over. If the individual is still in the workforce, their ability to perform their job will start to decline. Concentration becomes more difficult, and the person may be unable to perform overly complex tasks like organizing a party or doing their own taxes.

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