Dementia is a progressive disease that leads to a deterioration in cognitive function. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 55 million people in the world have dementia, and this is expected to rise to 78 million by the year 2030. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, but there are ways to help individuals with this disease.
If someone you know has recently been diagnosed, below are the 7 stages of dementia and what to expect.
Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline
In this early stage of the disease, a person may not exhibit any symptoms that are noticeable to those around them. However, computerized tomography (CT) tests might reveal some cognitive changes to the brain.
Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Stage 2 is marked by slight changes in behavior and cognitive abilities, but the person will still be independent. They may start forgetting words or misplacing personal items, but it will not be that noticeable to others. Stage 2 can also occur as part of the normal aging process.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline
During Stage 3, there might be noticeable changes in a person’s thinking and reasoning. For example, they might forget appointments, have a hard time remembering recent events, or they might repeat themselves a lot.
Other signs of decline in this stage include forgetting what they just read or watched on TV, as well as difficulties making social plans. At this stage, it can be a good idea to consider some of the best memory care facilities in Bethesda, as these homes are equipped to help residents with early and late-stage dementia.
Stage 4: Moderate Decline
This stage is characterized by problems with making plans and remembering recent events. They might also exhibit observable behaviors such as having a hard time traveling or handling money. People in Stage 4 might also lose interest in previous activities and will withdraw from others. Other signs include becoming disoriented and forgetting where they are or what time/date it is. At this stage, a person’s behavior is usually quite apparent to those around them.
Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
A person in Stage 5 will likely have severe memory issues such as forgetting people’s names or addresses and phone numbers. They will also start to forget how to do basic activities such as getting dressed and attending to regular hygiene. As this stage is quite advanced, these individuals will require assistance with day-to-day activities.
Stage 6: Severe Decline
Stage 6 is a period of severe decline and is marked by advanced memory and cognitive problems. This can involve forgetting the name of a spouse and requiring assistance with eating and going to the bathroom. People at this stage can also suffer from severe confusion, anxiety, and personality changes. This can be a difficult stage for family as the person can forget who their loved ones are.
Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 7 is the final end-stage of dementia, where individuals are completely dependent on carers for daily function. They will require help with basic activities such as eating, walking, drinking, or sitting. In addition, individuals in Stage 7 typically lose the ability to communicate as they struggle to express their thoughts and/or find the right words. Physically, people in Stage 7 are also encumbered and will spend most of their time in bed as they may forget how to walk.