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What Are The Early Stages Of Dementia

Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Can Increase Care And Quality Of Life

Recognizing The Early Stages of Dementia

Understanding the signs, symptoms, and stages of dementia can help you prepare yourself and your family for these changes. While there is no cure for dementia at this time, the sooner the symptoms are discovered, the sooner steps can be taken to prepare for changes. Your healthcare provider can explain the treatment options that are available for you or your loved one.

Preparing your loved ones, gathering legal and financial documents, and preparing end-of-life planning can go a long way in creating peace of mind for everyone. By being prepared, you can set yourself up for as smooth a transition as possible during the stages of dementia.

Tandem Careplanning’s Dementia Home Care Services

If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of dementia or are currently living with dementia, its important to know youre not alone. Tandem Careplanning specializes in dementia home care. Tandem can help you create a customized care plan for you or your loved one, and well help guide you every step of the way.

If youd like to learn more about in-home dementia care, call one of our skilled Senior Care Specialists at .

Misplacing Items In Odd Places As Early Stages Of Dementia Symptom

Forgetting where you put your keys, and theyre on the kitchen table, seems normal. However, if you put objects in a random, nonsensical place, it could be a sign of a greater problem.

If you misplace things around the house especially in odd places such as putting your cell phone in the freezer or your car keys in the bathroom cabinet. It might be a sign of early dementia, says Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, author of The MIND Diet, over email with Bustle, emerging research from the Religious Orders Study .

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.

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The Importance Of Socialization

One of the best ways to contribute to your senior loved ones well-being is to make sure they are receiving enough stimulation. As their caregiver, you can drive them to events and activities and suggest new things for them to do.

Studies have found that socialized seniors are less depressed and anxious, healthier, have greater longevity, a better sense of purpose, and have higher self-esteem.

Seniors and even caregivers who find themselves isolated typically have higher levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem, difficulties sleeping, weaker immune systems, and worse cardiovascular health.

What Can Family And Friends Do To Support A Caregiver

Understanding the Stages of Dementia

Send notes and emails, make calls, and check in with the caregiver regularly. Do not wait for them to reach out.

Be specific when reaching out to a caregiver: Im free on Wednesday, lets set a date to meet for lunch is much better than let me know if I can do anything.

Make a regular date to spend time with the caregiver. If you are a couple, maybe one person can spend time with the person diagnosed, while the other spends time with the caregiver.

If you think the person with Alzheimers seems to be doing great, do not assume the caregiver wouldnt benefit from a break. Even when their loved one is in the early stages, the caregiver needs time for themself.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a caregiver is to offer to do something with the person with Alzheimers while they take a break. Whether this is for a few hours or a few days, knowing their loved one with Alzheimers disease has a friend to do things with and is available if help is needed can bring peace of mind, and give them a much needed break.

This document was created by Angela, Cece, James, Leslie, Pam and Paul. We are all living with Alzheimers disease or another dementia. We strive to raise awareness in a way that benefits professionals as well as caregivers, and others living with a dementia diagnosis.

For more information on early stage Alzheimers and other dementia visit our website.

Learn more:

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Early Signs Of Dementia

Its not easy to spot the early signs of dementia in someone we are caring for. If a person is struggling to remember a name, follow a conversation or recall what they did yesterday, many of us may put it down to the fact that the person is getting older. But it may well be a warning that they are in the early stages of dementia.

Family, friends and care workers are likely to be the first to see the signs and play a key role in encouraging a person receiving care to see a GP.

Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.

A carer speaking about his wifes early signs of dementia, healthtalk website

A doctor can help establish whether a person has dementia or a treatable illness or condition that can cause dementia-like symptoms, such as depression, a urinary infection or nutritional disorders.

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:

  • Memory
  • 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.

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Does Everyone Experience Each Stage Of Dementia

Anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia experiences the different stages, but symptoms often vary.

Michael Tobin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Riding the Edge: A Love Song to Deborah, serves as the primary caretaker for his beloved wife of 40+ years. Deborah has Alzheimer’s, so Tobin understands the challenges firsthand.

“The rate of degeneration varies from patient to patient, but no one escapes the ravages of the disease,” said Tobin. “It generally takes four to 10 years to reach late-stage or severe. The brain slowly relinquishes functions beginning with short-term and long-term memory, reasoning, social interaction, emotional intelligence, and control over bodily functions until the disease impacts the brain stem which regulates breathing, swallowing, and other life functions.”

Know The Signs Of Dementia

The Early Stages of Dementia

Early diagnosis can help people with dementia plan for the future, and might mean they can access interventions that help slow down the disease. Being familiar with the signs of dementia can help people receive a diagnosis as early as possible.

Early signs that a person might have dementia can include:

  • being vague in everyday conversations
  • memory loss that affects day-to-day function
  • short term memory loss
  • difficulty performing everyday tasks and taking longer to do routine tasks
  • losing enthusiasm or interest in regular activities
  • difficulties in thinking or saying the right words
  • changes in personality or behaviour
  • finding it difficult to follow instructions
  • finding it difficult to follow stories
  • increased emotional unpredictability.

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Putting Things In The Wrong Place

This is different to: more normal age-related behaviours such as losing things but being able to retrace the steps to find them.

Losing things or putting things in strange places, and then being unable to retrace steps to find them again, is on the official observation list for early signs of dementia.

Sometimes someone else might be accused of stealing which may occur more frequently over time. For example, your dad may insist that a friend keeps stealing his money, whereas its in its regular hiding place.

Other examples that may indicate potential dementia symptoms could include:

  • Teabags in the fridge and leaving the milk out
  • Toothbrush in the washing basket
  • Remote control in the cutlery drawer
  • Dirty laundry in the dishwasher

Misplacing or losing items is more common in Alzheimers Disease, rather than vascular dementia. Find out more about the different types of dementia.

Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia

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.

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Using The Gds To Measure Dementia Progression

As the disease progresses, different signs and symptoms will become increasingly obvious. While there are several scales to measure the progression of dementia, the most common scale is the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia . The scale is also known as the Reisberg Scale. According to the GDS, there are seven different stages of Alzheimers disease correlating with four distinct categories: no Alzheimers, mild Alzheimers , moderate Alzheimers , and severe Alzheimers .

Some Practical Advice For Maintaining Independence In Early Stages Of Dementia

stages of vascular dementia chart

You can take additional measures to ensure that you remain independent:

  • Make space for a pen and calendar with large writing spaces near your phone
  • Make a habit of keeping a log of all your important events like appointments, social activities, the days when bills are due, medical visits in a notebook or on the aforementioned calendar
  • Make a daily to-do list and keep in a spot where you can see and access it at all times
  • If you are on medication, it is important to keep it organized so that you can remember which one you are supposed to take and when. To do this you can purchase a medical dispenser or a dosette box. You can also ask the pharmacist you purchase your medicine from to blister pack the medicines to ensure you take the correct amount.
  • You should purchase a large clock and place it in a noticeable place in your room or whichever space you frequent the most. It will be useful to get one that also displays the date.
  • Arrange the widgets on your phone so that they prominently show the date and day.
  • Keep bills visible so that they get paid.

Also Check: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

What Are The Seven Stages Of Dementia

  • What Are the Seven Stages of Dementia? Center
  • Dementia is a general term used for progressive mental or cognitive decline that has affected 47 million people globally by 2050, this number is expected to increase to an estimated 131 million people.

    Out of the various diseases that have dementia as one of their characteristics, Alzheimers disease is the most common. The progression of dementia has been divided into seven stages as per the Global Deterioration Scale of primary degenerative dementia prepared by Dr. Riesberg and his team.

    Stage 1

    The imaging techniques such as computed tomography scan of the brain might show some changes but the patient does not exhibit any of the cognitive signs and symptoms.

    Stage 2

    • The patient starts forgetting words or misplacing objects this may go unnoticed by people around them.
    • It should be remembered that this stage might also occur due to the normal aging process.

    Stage 3

    • The patient suffers from short-term memory lossforgetting what they just read and the names of new acquaintances.
    • They cant make plans or organize things as earlier.
    • They might frequently start misplacing and losing things.

    Stage 4

    Stage 5

    • The patient experiences major memory disturbances such as forgetting their phone number and address.
    • They may forget how to bath and face trouble while choosing and wearing clothes.

    Stage 6 :

    Stage 7 :

    Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies

    Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and people with the condition typically also experience:

    • periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion
    • visual hallucinations
    • becoming slower in their physical movements
    • repeated falls and fainting

    Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.

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    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.

    What Are The Early Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia

    Four Stages of Dementia: The Early Stage

    Dementia may produce a group of signs and symptoms that become more severe over time. Some doctors believe that the early warning signs and stages include a decline in memory, counting, and reasoning and language abilities. However, early signs of Alzheimers may be first noticed by a family member or other person.

    Potential early warning signs and symptoms of dementia include:

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    The 3 Stages Of Dementia: Heres What You Should Know

    Dementia, including Alzheimers Disease, is considered a progressive diagnosis. This means someone usually starts with subtle signs and symptoms of dementia that become more noticeable over time.

    Because of the development in symptoms, many organizations divide dementia into three stages. The stages of dementia are classified as early, middle, and end stages. Each persons dementia diagnosis is unique, so the time spent in each stage can vary.

    Weve broken down each stage to help you understand what the process may look like if you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of dementia. Read on to learn more about the stages of dementia.

    How Is Dementia Diagnosed

    To diagnosis dementia, testing is performed by doctors. While in-office screening assessments are sometimes enough to confirm a diagnosis, at other times a more in-depth evaluation is required. Blood testing and imaging studies are often completed to confirm that reversible conditions such as thyroid disease or certain vitamin deficiencies are not present.

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    Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment

    This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

    • Forgetting where one has placed an object
    • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

    Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

    Where To Get Help

    7 Stages of Dementia
    • 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

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    Rapid And Unexplained Mood Swings And/or Depression

    This is different to: more typical age-related behaviours such as becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

    Mood and personality changes can be associated with early signs of dementia. This could include becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious, and your parent may find themselves getting easily upset in places they feel unsure about. Some of the dementia symptoms NHS lists include:

    • Increased anxiety
    • Depression
    • Violent mood swings

    For example, your parent may appear calm, then visibly upset, and then very angry in a matter of minutes. This is a significant sign of dementia anger and frustration specifically if its unprovoked.

    Other physical signs include pacing, obsessing over minor details, agitation, fear, confusion, rage and feeling overwhelmed because theyre trying to make sense of a world thats now confusing to them.


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