The Seven Dementia Stages
Posted on December 16, 2009 by DementiaGuide
The Seven Dementia Stages
Understanding Is Key
Experts have determined that dementia - both Alzheimer's dementia and other forms - develops along the course of a seven-stage process. Understanding these dementia stages and charting their course are important steps in learning to diagnose and identify dementia in loved ones, friends, or even yourself.
- No impairment: Patients at this level of dementia have no impairment. They exhibit no symptoms, and they appear to be completely healthy and functional, even when examined by a trained medical professional.
- Extremely mild cognitive decline: Only the most vigilant trained professionals would notice this stage, but family members who have close contact with the patient would probably notice before anyone else. This stage is characterized by mild loss of memory, including getting words mixed up in sentences, forgetting simple words for everyday objects, and mixing up names of relatives.
- Mild cognitive decline: Of all the dementia stages, this is when most people being to notice a problem. Under mild cognitive decline, a patient will begin forgetting names and words, he will have trouble remembering the names of someone who was just introduced to him, he'll have trouble retaining significant amounts of information after reading a newspaper article or a book, and he'll being to lose valuable objects.
- Moderate cognitive decline: Much like mild cognitive decline, only more pronounced, this is characterized a patient's inability to perform complex mathematical calculations, a failure to recollect current events or major personal events, a marked difficulty in making plans, and a tendency to withdraw from social situations.
- Moderately severe cognitive decline: Here, assistance with daily activities may be required. Large gaps in memory, whether short term or long term, are fairly common at this stage and are a strong sign of the onset of dementia. Simple math is difficult, and basic facts that make up a person's identity - like the college you graduated from - may be impossible to recall for a patient experiencing the fifth of the dementia stages.
- Severe cognitive decline: Personal history is difficult to recount. Faces and names look and sound familiar, but a patient may not be able to link them. There is an increasing tendency to wander and get lost. Incontinence and poor bladder control is also common in the sixth of the dementia stages. Patients are often confused, and they can sometimes experience delusions and hallucinations.
- Very severe cognitive decline: Here, the patient is mostly unable to respond to the environment. Most stimuli go unheeded. Muscle rigidity and an inability to smile, chew, or speak are typical.