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441 US 130,

East Windsor, NJ 08520

(609) 336-7518

09AM to 05PM EST

What are 7 Stages of Dementia?

Dementia is a brain disease that impairs memory, reasoning ability and everyday life. It is a common condition affecting older people. According to the CDC, around 5.6 million adults above 65 in the United States have dementia.

Understanding the stages of dementia is crucial to have proper care and support. While dementia progresses differently in each individual, it commonly follows a predictable pattern. This pattern of disease progress helps physicians handle the changing needs of people with dementia.

It was just a brief introduction to dementia. Moving forward, we will discuss the seven stages of dementia in detail and how you can treat them.
So, continue reading!

Are Dementia and Alzheimer's the Same?

Most people confuse dementia with Alzheimer’s disease. To break the ice, both are not the same but related.

Dementia is a generic term for a collection of cognitive (thinking and memory) symptoms. The symptoms include memory loss, difficulty in problem-solving and mood changes.

Conversely, Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia. Around 60-70% of dementia cases come with Alzheimer’s—abnormal protein deposits in the brain cause a gradual decrease in cognitive functions.

So, in simple terms, dementia is the larger group, and Alzheimer’s is one of the specific disorders in this category. Other types of dementia are vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia, each with unique characteristics.

What are 7 Stages of Dementia?

Stage 1: Normal Functioning

In the early stages of cognitive health, the person’s mental abilities function at their maximum capacity. There is no mental impairment to interfere with normal activities at this time, says Alzheimer’s Society.

Symptoms

During this stage, people don’t experience any symptoms, and their memory and problem-solving abilities remain intact.

Treatment

Early detection is important during this stage. There are no obvious cognitive impairments, so rejecting small changes as a normal part of aging is easy.

However, recognizing changes in a person’s normal cognitive performance is critical to addressing potential difficulties as soon as possible.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

MCI is the first indicator of dementia. Understanding this stage is critical to realize the necessity of early treatment. In this stage, people may undergo numerous cognitive changes. However, their ability to work solely remains fine.

Symptoms

During stage 2, people start showing symptoms. Although these symptoms are mild, a person should not neglect them. The typical symptoms involve,

  • Forgetfulness
  • Mild Confusion
  • Difficulty in complex tasks

Treatment

Early treatment is necessary for mild cognitive difficulty because it can slow cognitive decline and improve quality of life. Here are some steps you can take to manage stage 2,

● Medical Evaluation

If you or your loved one notices the symptoms mentioned earlier, seek medical attention immediately. Early detection can aid in finding the underlying causes, such as vitamin shortages or thyroid issues.

● Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a brain-healthy lifestyle can have a major impact on MCI progression. It includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, good sleep and social interaction. These practices help in the maintenance of cognitive function.

● Cognitive Training

Cognitive training exercises like puzzles, memory games and learning new skills boost cognitive functions and postpone future loss.

● Medications

Medications are a good way to manage symptoms of dementia stage 2. However, it is important to take them on your doctor’s recommendation.

● Emotional Support

Individuals and their families may experience emotional difficulties as a result of MCI. At that time, seeking help from counselors or therapists is essential to manage symptoms effectively.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline (Early Stage Dementia)

In this stage, subtle cognitive changes become apparent. However, some people attribute it to normal aging. People may need help to recall recent events and regularly miss belongings such as keys and eyeglasses. Concentration and problem-solving begin to destroy, making tasks more difficult.

Symptoms

Early-stage dementia can be challenging, but identifying the signs is crucial to know the disease properly. The symptoms a person with dementia stage 3 shows are,

  • Memory Lapses
  • Difficulty with language
  • Mood swings

Treatment

The memory of stage 3 patients starts damaging progressively; hence, proper treatment is crucial to manage the disease. Below are the commonly used approaches to treat dementia.

● Support Networks

Family and friends are invaluable sources of emotional support. Encourage open dialogue and patience to assist individuals in navigating their changing abilities.

● Need for Planning Ahead

It may be uncomfortable, but it is important to plan for the future. You should address legal and financial issues, including advance directives. As the condition worsens, discuss your preferences for care and living arrangements.

● Focusing on Independence

Encourage as much independence as possible. You can change the home environment to make it more dementia friendly. Consider engaging in cognitive exercises and mind-stimulating activities.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline (Mild Stage Dementia)

As dementia progresses to stage 4, individuals experience moderate thinking difficulties. During this stage, people face challenges that can disturb them and their families.

Symptoms

At this stage, the mental state starts ruining day by day. Various symptoms show changes in mental health.

  • Moderate Confusion
  • Unable to recognize loved ones
  • Dependency on others

How to Deal with Difficult Dementia Patients?

This stage of dementia needs proper care and treatment. When a person with stage 4 dementia visits their doctor, they recommend treatment which involves,

● Professional Care

Many people with mild-stage dementia require personal Care because of the intricacy of their care needs. It could include dementia-specific caregivers or placement in a memory care center. At this stage, regular monitoring is necessary to track the disease.

● Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle change works wonders at this stage. It is crucial to remove all the hazards around you or your loved ones with dementia. Also, remember to install handrails and keep doors closed, as the person may unknowingly wander here and there.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

In moderately severe stage 5 of dementia, the person’s mental health is strongly disturbed. It means their thinking capacity and ability to memorize things is slowly vanishing.

Symptoms

The symptoms of dementia get worse and worse as the stage progresses. The common symptoms of dementia involve the following,

  • Loss of speech
  • Difficulty in moving and controlling body
  • Limited awareness of the environment

Treatment

Moderate dementia is very difficult and needs specialized Care and advanced medical help. These treatments can secretly help stop the disease from getting worse.

● 24/7 Care

Patients with dementia stage 5 require someone with them 24/7. It will ensure their safety and well-being. The around-the-clock Care includes helping with daily activities and taking Care of all their general needs of the day.

● Medical Management

Another point that is crucial for dementia patients is regular monitoring. It allows the doctors to manage any physical health issue from mobility loss. Doctors may employ medications or therapies to deal with such medical issues.

● Comfort and Quality of Life

The symptoms of dementia are progressing in this stage. Hence, the focus shifts to comfort and calm the patient to ensure the quality of life. It involves pain relief and providing emotional support.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline (End Stage Dementia)

What happens in end-stage dementia?

Stage 6 dementia presents a massive decline in mental health and the ability to process things. At this stage, individuals struggle to communicate and perform bodily functions independently.

Symptoms of End-Stage Dementia

The symptoms of severe dementia are generally harsh and strongly affect the quality of life. The symptoms include,

  • Communication becomes difficult
  • Eating and drinking become problematic
  • It is hard to control body functions like bowel and bladder movements.

Treatment

Severe dementia highlights the importance of palliative Care and a comfortable environment to provide the best quality of life.

● Palliative Care

It focuses on providing relief rather than treating the disease. It aims to ensure the person’s comfort and dignity. Creating a comfortable patient environment makes them feel safe and secure.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline (Final Stage Dementia)

The final stage of dementia is the most challenging and sensitive time. In this stage, the immune system of the patient gets weak. The weakness often makes them sick and increases the risk of infections. This stage is emotionally draining for caregivers and family.

Symptoms

The last stage of dementia is the collection of symptoms, contributing to the person’s bad quality of life. The collective symptoms that destroy the person’s body include

  • Extensive memory loss
  • Difficulty in communications
  • Loss to mobility
  • The person is unable to control bowel or urination
  • More prone to infections
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of Emotional Expression

Treatment

Final-stage dementia has already caused significant loss to the body. The only way to extend the person’s life is through continuous medical support, medications and Care.

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death

PHNJ | How we Can Help You With Dementia

Dementia is an unstoppable enemy that can destroy your mental health in no time.

At Prime Health of New Jersey, our mental health specialists are working hard to treat mental illness. You can also visit them or use our remote patient monitoring service to address your mental health issues. So, don't delay and get a grasp on your health now.

Schedule an Appointment

Key Takeaways

  • Dementia is an illness which progressively destroys the mental health of a person.
  • Identifying what are 7 stages of dementia?  is crucial to protect your mental health from damage.
  • Stages 1 and 2 don’t significantly show severe symptoms, and you can manage them with proper Care.
  • As the disease progresses, the symptoms get severe, and treatment gets difficult.
  • If you ever notice unusual forgetfulness, immediately consult a doctor for expert advice.

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Our Team

Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

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