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
- Loss of impulse control, such as undressing at inappropriate times or using vulgar language
- Repetitive statements or movements, such as hand-wringing or tissue-shredding
- Trouble carrying out activities that require multiple steps, such as getting dressed
- Difficulty reading, writing, or working with numbers
- 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
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.
Alma And Silvias Story
Alma had been forgetful for years, but even after her family knew that Alzheimers disease was the cause of her forgetfulness, they never talked about what the future would bring. As time passed and the disease eroded Almas memory and ability to think and speak, she became less and less able to share her concerns and wishes with those close to her.
This made it hard for her daughter Silvia to know what Alma needed or wanted. When the doctors asked about feeding tubes or antibiotics to treat pneumonia, Silvia didnt know how to best reflect her mothers wishes. Her decisions had to be based on what she knew about her moms values, rather than on what Alma actually said she wanted.
Quality of life is an important issue when making healthcare decisions for people with dementia. For example, medicines are available that may delay or keep symptoms from becoming worse for a little while. Medicines also may help control some behavioral symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimers disease.
However, some caregivers might not want drugs prescribed for people in the later stages of Alzheimers. They may believe that the persons quality of life is already so poor that the medicine is unlikely to make a difference. If the drug has serious side effects, they may be even more likely to decide against it.
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Stage : Mild Cognitive Decline
Stage 3 is where dementia or Alzheimers disease symptoms can become more noticeable to friends and family. This stage will not have a major impact on your loved ones everyday life, but signs can include:
- Trouble with complex tasks and problem-solving
- Memory loss and forgetfulness
- Asking the same question repeatedly
- Diminished work performance
Find Meaningful Memory Care For Your Loved One At Franciscan Ministries
At Franciscan Ministries, we understand that caring for a loved one living with dementia is an emotional, demanding role. Thats why we offer specialized memory care for your loved one living with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia.
Our memory care community includes specially trained staff, structured and stimulating programming, and a safe, secure environment for your family member. And because every individual diagnosed with dementia will experience it in different ways, our memory care program is designed to provide personalized care that empowers a purposeful life.
Contact us today to learn more about our memory care community and senior living options.
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Alzheimer Disease Begins Long Before The First Symptoms
Alzheimers disease can begin a decade or more before the first symptoms. Despite a lack of outward evidence, toxic changes are happening in the brain.
Researchers have identified a condition called mild cognitive impairment that in some but by no means all individuals may be the earliest indication of Alzheimers or another type of dementia.
MCI involves lapses in memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are noticeable to the person and his family and close friends yet are not serious enough to interfere with everyday life.
A meta-analysis published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandanavica examined 41 studies and found that among people with MCI who were tracked for five years or longer, an average of 38 percent developed dementia.
One of the highest priorities of Alzheimers research is understanding what happens inside the brain long before the first symptom. The hope is that these insights will lead to more effective treatments that slow or even prevent damage.
After the onset of symptoms, the disease progresses through three main stages: mild , moderate , and severe .
The Progression And Stages Of Dementia
Dementia is progressive. This means symptoms may be relatively mild at first but they get worse with time. Dementia affects everyone differently, however it can be helpful to think of dementia progressing in ‘three stages’.
The progression and stages of dementia
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How Quickly Does Dementia Progress
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.
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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How Quickly Does Dementia Usually Progress
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.
What Are The Seven Stages Of Dementia
The most common types of dementia, including Alzheimers, are progressive, meaning cognitive decline worsens over time. Dementia is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe as well as early stage, middle stage, and late stage dementia.
Health care providers often use a more comprehensive tool to assess the seven stages of dementia in elderly patients. Its called the Global Deterioration Scale , or the Reisberg Scale, and was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, a geriatric psychiatrist and professor, in 1982.
The GDS enables caregivers and health professionals to determine how quickly dementia progresses in elderly patients, and which symptoms to expect during each of the seven stages of dementia.
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Support For Dementia Caregivers At The End Of Life
Caring for people with Alzheimers or other dementias at home can be demanding and stressful for the family caregiver. Depression is a problem for some family caregivers, as is fatigue, because many feel they are always on call. Family caregivers may have to cut back on work hours or leave work altogether because of their caregiving responsibilities.
Many family members taking care of a person with advanced dementia at home feel relief when death happensfor themselves and for the person who died. It is important to realize such feelings are normal. Hospicewhether used at home or in a facility gives family caregivers needed support near the end of life, as well as help with their grief, both before and after their family member dies.
A Person With Dementia Doesnt Always Fit Into One Stage
Dementia affects each person in a unique way and changes different parts of the brain at different points in the disease progression.
Plus, different types of dementia tend to have different symptoms.
For example, someone with frontotemporal dementia may first show extreme behavior and personality changes. But someone with Alzheimers disease would first experience short-term memory loss and struggle with everyday tasks.
Researchers and doctors still dont know enough about how these diseases work to predict exactly what will happen.
Another common occurrence is for someone in the middle stages of dementia to suddenly have a clear moment, hour, or day and seem like theyre back to their pre-dementia abilities. They could be sharp for a little while and later, go back to having obvious cognitive impairment.
When this happens, some families may feel like their older adult is faking their symptoms or just isnt trying hard enough.
Its important to know that this isnt true, its truly the dementia thats causing their declining abilities as well as those strange moments of clarity theyre truly not doing it on purpose.
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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.
Stage : Moderately Severe Decline
Your loved one might start to lose track of where they are and what time it is. They might have trouble remembering their address, phone number, or where they went to school. They could get confused about what kind of clothes to wear for the day or season.
You can help by laying out their clothing in the morning. It can help them dress by themselves and keep a sense of independence.
If they repeat the same question, answer with an even, reassuring voice. They might be asking the question less to get an answer and more to just know you’re there.
Even if your loved one can’t remember facts and details, they might still be able to tell a story. Invite them to use their imagination at those times.
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Stages Of Dementia For Elderly Individuals
Understanding dementia progression is critical for making informed medical and personal decisions about memory care. Recognizing early warning signs can guarantee a diagnosis, so you can analyze common symptoms of moderate and late-stage dementia and prepare for the future. Knowing what to watch out for as you or your family member advances through the dementia phases can help determine when it is time to reassess care needs.
Do Treatments Add Time To Life Expectancy
Experts simply dont know whether treatments help a person live longer with Alzheimers disease. AD and other similar dementias progress no matter what. Treatments like medications and therapies have been conclusively shown to help manage symptoms, meaning they make it easier to live with the disease, but they do not reverse symptoms. The memory of a person with dementia who takes medications like cholinesterase inhibitors, for example, will be slightly better than the memory of someone who is not on medication. Quality of life therefore improves with treatment. This means better years with dementia, but probably not more years.
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Caregiving In The Middle Stages
According to the Alzheimers Association, this can be the most prolonged period you will face as a caregiver. The symptoms associated with the middle stage can continue for most of your loved ones later years. During this time, you will need to learn to develop patience, flexibility, and understanding as their day-to-day functions become more difficult to achieve. Your loved one might need assistance with ADLs, act out in strange ways, or grow frustrated and angry with you, which can be stressful. Be sure to take care of yourself and reach out to family, friends, and other support services to make this transition smoother.
The Different Stages Of Dementia: Mild Moderate Severe
Dementia is a progressive illness, meaning symptoms of the disorder become more severe over time. These changes may come relatively quickly or set in more gradually. Either way, supporting your loved one through dementia is no easy task. It helps to understand the stages of dementia and what you can expect during each one. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better able to plan and prepare for your loved ones needs. In your research on dementia, you have probably seen the condition divided into any number of stages. But, in general, there are three stages of dementia to be aware of.
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The Short Answer To A Big Question
On this page we will discuss the development of an Alzheimers / dementia Life Expectancy Calculator, but lets first address the question most people ask after receiving the diagnosis of an incurable disease: How long do I have left to live? With dementia, the answer differs depending on the type. By far the most common form of dementia is Alzheimers disease, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is 10 years. Other dementias have different life expectancies. Someone with vascular dementia lives for about five years after diagnosis. Someone who has dementia with Lewy bodies will typically live for six to twelve more years.
Average life expectancies for the most common types of dementia are as follows:
Stage : Subjective Memory Lossage Related Forgetfulness
Many people over the age of 65 complain of cognitive and/or functional difficulties. Elderly persons with these symptoms report that they can no longer remember names as easily as they could 5 or 10 years previously they can also have trouble recalling where they have recently placed things.
Various terms have been suggested for this condition, but subjective cognitive decline is presently the widely accepted terminology. These symptoms by definition, are not notable to intimates or other external observers of the person with subjective cognitive decline. Persons with these symptoms decline at higher rates than similarly aged persons and similarly healthy persons who are free of subjective complaints. Research has shown that this stage of subjective cognitive decline lasts 15 years in otherwise healthy persons.
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Stage : Normal Outward Behavior No Dementiaquality Of Life: No Impact
You wont notice any changes with your loved one.
How You Can Help:
If you and your loved one are concerned about dementia, 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.
What Is The Life Expectancy For Someone With Dementia
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer as there are many influencing factors, including the persons age and gender, the type of dementia and the stage of the condition at diagnosis. The average life expectancy after diagnosis for someone with Alzheimers, the most common form of dementia is 10 years. However, dementia progresses differently in everyone, meaning people can live anywhere from 2 years to 26 years after diagnosis.
The main way in which health care professionals estimate dementia life expectancy is by using the Global Deterioration Scale , also called the Reisberg Scale. It shows the average time someone is expected to live depending on which stage of dementia they are at.
|Stage||Expected Life Expectancy|
|Stage 1: No cognitive decline||N/A|
|Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline||Unknown|
|Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline||2-7 years|
|Stage 4: Moderate cognitive decline||2 years|
|Stage 5: Moderately severe cognitive decline||1.5 years|
|Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline||2.5 years|
|Stage 7: Very Severe cognitive decline||1.5 to 2.5 years||2.5 years or less|
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Stage : Very Mild Decline
The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age-related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by loved ones or physicians.