If your loved one was recently diagnosed with dementia or you’re worried that they’re showing signs, educate yourself about what to look for and expect. In senior care, early detection, planning, and caregiver support can improve the quality of life for everyone. Below is a brief overview of the stages of dementia, although symptoms can overlap in some patients.
What Are the Stages of Dementia?
1. Stages 1-3
Dementia is typically broken into seven stages, but the first two may pass without a diagnosis because they show minimal signs. Symptoms can include forgetting names and misplacing things around the house. These signs are commonly attributed to the occasional forgetfulness that comes with old age.
At stage three, signs become more noticeable, such as difficulties with communicating, getting lost, and decreased performance at work. It’s at this stage that their loved ones may start to notice, and occasional senior services may be considered, such as having a caregiver come over a few times a week.
2. Stage 4
Stage three can last up to seven years before progressing to stage four, which is officially termed early dementia but includes mild to moderate symptoms. At stage four, your loved one may become distant and reclusive, struggle to manage finances, have difficulties completing tasks, can’t or shouldn’t travel new places alone, and forget recent events.
Their physician can detect this decline through various tests, and senior services will likely be recommended to help your loved one and those around them. The stage lasts around two years.
3. Stages 5-6
Symptoms of stages five and six can last up to four years and include needing help with daily tasks, forgetting their address and contact information, and not knowing the time, date, or place they are in.
As the last stage approaches, symptoms may expand to include forgetting family members, forgetting past major events, incontinence, and personality and mental changes like anxiety and compulsions. They may also wander around and get lost, have problems dressing, and will need constant senior care to ensure they’re safe.
4. Stage 7
During the final stage of dementia, hospice or nursing care is highly advisable. Difficulties swallowing, walking, moving, and speaking are common. They may not be aware of their environment or respond to their surroundings, and communication may not be possible.
You can’t care for your loved one if you aren’t caring for yourself. Sally’s Place in Swanzey, NH, offers compassionate senior care to give you time to recharge. Open on weekends from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, they offer a stimulating environment for your loved one to enjoy crafts, music, movies, and socialization while you run errands or focus on self-care. Browse caregiver support resources on their website, and call (603) 338-0073 to schedule a tour.