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HomeHealthWhat Are The Levels Of Dementia

What Are The Levels Of Dementia

How Do Family Caregivers Care

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

Archbold’s concept of care providers and care managers is useful. Care providers provide hands-on care, dressing, assisting with finances and other daily activities, and care managers arrange for others to provide care, for example a nurse for personal care, an accountant to assist with finances. Spouses tend to be care providers, and adult children and other relatives, care managers. Care providers tend to be more stressed than care managers. Dementia is associated with long care hours and physicallydemanding caregiving. Many studies have found that caregivers of those with dementia have higher levels of burden than other caregivers.,, A 2003 survey of 227 US dementia caregivers found that nearly one quarter provided 40 hours of care or more per week . This included personal care such as bathing, feeding, and assisting with toileting for 65% of caregivers. Over two thirds of caregivers sustained this commitment for more than 1 year and one third for 5 or more years.

How Important Are The Stages Of Dementia

The stages of dementia are just a guide and there is nothing significant about the number three. Equally, dementia doesnt follow an exact or certain set of steps that happen in the same way for every person with dementia.

It can be difficult to tell when a persons dementia has progressed from one stage to another because:

  • some symptoms may appear in a different order to the stages described in this factsheet, or not at all
  • the stages may overlap the person may need help with some aspects of everyday life but manage other tasks and activities on their own
  • some symptoms, particularly those linked to behaviours, may develop at one stage and then reduce or even disappear later on. Other symptoms, such as memory loss and problems with language and thinking, tend to stay and get worse with time.

It is natural to ask which stage a person is at or what might happen next. But it is more important to focus on the person in the present moment. This includes their needs and how they can live well, and how to help them with this.

For more support on living well with dementia see The dementia guide: living well after diagnosis or Caring for a person with dementia: a practical guide .

And for more information about treatment and support for the different types of dementia go to the following pages:

Dementia Can Be Hard To Diagnose Early On

Dr. William Nields, medical director of Cognitive Health Centers in Sarasota, Florida told US News, “The symptoms are very subtle in the beginning and almost unnoticeable. For that reason, most people are not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or one of the other many brain diseases that causes dementia until they’ve already progressed into their mid-stage.” He also stated, “In the case of Alzheimer’s Disease, beta amyloid plaques may be building up in the brain 20 years before dementia, and years before symptoms are even present,” Nields says. Dementia is typically diagnosed after “significant cognitive decline has occurred and a person has difficulty caring for themselves.”

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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?:

What Affects The Speed Of Progression

The 7 Stages of Dementia

The speed at which dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person because of factors such as:

  • the type of dementia for example, Alzheimers disease tends to progress more slowly than the other types
  • a persons age for example, Alzheimers disease generally progresses more slowly in older people than in younger people
  • other long-term health problems dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well managed
  • delirium a medical condition that starts suddenly .

There is no way to be sure how quickly a persons dementia will progress. Some people with dementia will need support very soon after their diagnosis. In contrast, others will stay independent for several years.

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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

Caregiving In The Early Stages

Although most of your loved ones immediate medical needs can be managed on their own in the early stages, you may need to assist with tasks associated with memory or problem-solving. You may need to remind them of their doctors appointments and to set up the next appointment, along with taking their medications on time and getting refills as needed. You may need to assist them in managing their finances and keeping up with social and work obligations. At times, they may also need help remembering places, people, words, and names. In the early stages, you will want to encourage them to:

  • Maintain their independence
  • Establish a routine to delay the disease from worsening

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The Early Stages Of Dementia: Noticeable Cognitive Decline

A person is not typically diagnosed with dementia until theyre at stage 4 or beyond. This is when medical professionals and caregivers notice personality changes, as well as cognitive impairment.

Dementia stage 4: moderate cognitive decline

At this point, a person has clear, visible signs of mental impairment. While its considered mild or early stage dementia, the medical terminology for the fourth of the seven stages of dementia is moderate cognitive decline.

Doctors and caregivers will likely notice a worsening of stage 3 dementia symptoms, such as difficulties with language, problem-solving, and travel.

Stage 4 dementia symptoms

What Are The Different Types Of Dementia

What Are the Stages of Dementia?

Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.

The five most common forms of dementia are:

  • Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
  • Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
  • Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
  • Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
  • Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.

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New Study Reveals Signs Of Dementia Are Written In The Blood

by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Scientists in Japan have identified metabolic compounds within the blood that are associated with dementia.

The study revealed that the levels of 33 metabolites differed in patients with dementia, compared to elderly people with no existing health conditions. Their findings, published this week in PNAS, could one day aid diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

“Metabolites are chemical substances produced by vital chemical reactions that occur within cells and tissues,” said first author Dr. Takayuki Teruya, who works in the G0 Cell Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University . “Our body normally keeps these levels in balance, but as we age and if we develop diseases like dementia, these levels can fluctuate and change.”

Dementia is not just a single disease, but a general term used to describe a set of symptoms, including a slow but typically irreversible decline in the ability to remember, think, make decisions or perform day-to-day activities. Of all aging-associated diseases, dementia is one of the most serious, not only for the patients and their family but for society as a whole, with an estimated 55 million people living with the disease worldwide.

While scientists know that dementia is caused by damage to nerves, the exact cause of this damage, and methods as to how it can be detected and treated have remained elusive.

Explore further

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.

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Metabolic Compounds Linked To Dementia Could Be Key To New Methods Of Diagnosis And Treatment

Date:
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
Summary:
Scientists have identified metabolic compounds within the blood that are associated with dementia. The study revealed that the levels of 33 metabolites differed in patients with dementia, compared to elderly people with no existing health conditions. Their findings could one day aid diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

Scientists in Japan have identified metabolic compounds within the blood that are associated with dementia.

The study revealed that the levels of 33 metabolites differed in patients with dementia, compared to elderly people with no existing health conditions. Their findings, published this week in PNAS, could one day aid diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

“Metabolites are chemical substances produced by vital chemical reactions that occur within cells and tissues,” said first author Dr. Takayuki Teruya, who works in the G0 Cell Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University . “Our body normally keeps these levels in balance, but as we age and if we develop diseases like dementia, these levels can fluctuate and change.”

While scientists know that dementia is caused by damage to nerves, the exact cause of this damage, and methods as to how it can be detected and treated have remained elusive.

“Blood cells are difficult to handle because they undergo metabolic changes if left untreated even for a short period of time,” explained Dr. Teruya.

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Stages : Very Severe Decline

Dementia: Symptoms, Stages, Types, &  Treatment

Stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimers. Because the disease is a terminal illness, people in stage seven are nearing death. In stage seven of the disease, people lose the ability to communicate or respond to their environment. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living. In the final stages of Alzheimers, people may lose their ability to swallow.

Need Alzheimers Care?

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The Purpose Of The Framework

The framework sets out the knowledge and skills all health and social care staff should achieve in their roles in supporting people with dementia, their families and carers. It works alongside other standards and frameworks, such as the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework, the Social Services Continuous Learning Framework and the National Occupational Standards for Health and Social Care. The framework also has relevance and applicability to other sectors, such as housing.

The Promoting Excellence framework:

  • adds to these existing frameworks
  • applies to all health and social care staff who have contact with, and provide support, care, treatment and services for, people living with dementia, their families and carers
  • is future-focused, meaning it is not just a description of what we do now it is also what we aspire to do in the future to support the changes outlined in Scotland’s national dementia strategies and
  • sets out the knowledge and skills needed for new ways of working for all health and social care staff to help people with dementia, their families and carers to maximise their rights, choices, and health and wellbeing at all stages of their own dementia journey.

The Structure Of The Framework

Levels of knowledge and skills

Each level sets the specific knowledge and skills specific staff need based on their role rather than their position in the organisation, or their profession.

The Dementia Informed Practice Level provides the baseline knowledge and skills required by all staff working in health and social care settings, including in a person’s own home.

The Dementia Skilled Practice Level describes the knowledge and skills required by all staff who have direct and/or substantial contact with people with dementia, their families and carers.

The Enhanced Dementia Practice Level outlines the knowledge and skills required by health and social care staff who have more regular and intense contact with people with dementia, provide specific interventions, and/or direct and co-ordinate care and services for people with dementia. The knowledge and skills outlined at this level become increasingly role and context specific.

The Expertise in Dementia Practice Level outlines the knowledge and skills required for health and social care staff who, through their role and practice setting, play an expert specialist role in the care, treatment and support of people with dementia. The knowledge and skills outlined at this level become increasingly role and context specific.

Stages of the dementia journey

The four stages of the dementia journey identified in the framework are:

Quality of life outcome indicators for people with dementia, their families and carers

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms 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.

Dementia Stages: How Fast Dementia Progresses Stages Of Dementia And More

Recognizing The Early Stages of Dementia

Dementia is a progressive impairment of cognitive function caused by damage to the brain. Over time, a person with dementia will have increased difficulty with memory, understanding, communication, and reasoning.

Healthcare providers frequently speak about a persons dementia in terms of stages. This can be helpful for communicating with family or other healthcare providers regarding the persons illness, and it is important for determining an appropriate care plan.

How Fast Does Dementia Progress?

It is important to note that dementia progresses at different speeds for every person, and for different types of dementia. The most well-known form of dementia, Alzheimers disease, is just one specific type of dementia, and tends to have the slowest progression of all types. Some factors that affect the rate of progression include:

  • Age
  • Repeated infections

What are the Stages of Dementia?

There are a few different systems used to grade dementia — at the most basic there is early, moderate, and end. Many providers use the system developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University which includes 7 stages. The Reisberg scale is also known as the GDS or Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia. This scale focuses primarily on cognitive abilities.

Dementia Stages in the Reisberg Scale

Dementia Stages in the FAST Scale

Dementia Stages in the CDR Scale

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What To Do If A Loved One Is Suspicious Of Having Dementia

  • Discuss with loved one. Talk about seeing a medical provider about the observed changes soon. Talk about the issue of driving and always carrying an ID.
  • Medical assessment. Be with a provider that you are comfortable with. Ask about the Medicare Annual Wellness exam.
  • Family Meeting. Start planning, and gather documents like the Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Estate Plan.

What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia

Dementia does not affect every person in the same way. It presents itself differently in each individual and progresses at different rates. Some people will stay in a state of mild decline for an extended period, while others may develop multiple symptoms quickly. Understanding the seven stages of dementia can make these transitions a little easier for your loved one and you as their caregiver.

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Stage : Moderately Severe Decline

During the fifth stage of Alzheimers, people begin to need help with many day-to-day activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

  • Difficulty dressing appropriately
  • Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number
  • Significant confusion

On the other hand, people in stage five maintain functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

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