In most instances, dementia is thought of as a single disease. It’s not. It’s a group of conditions characterised by an impairment of at least two brain functions. Some of the most commonly affected functions include memory, problem-solving, and language, among others.
Some of the symptoms of dementia include limited social skills, thinking, and forgetfulness. In some instances, the symptoms are severe enough to affect your daily functions.
Whether you have Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, a health care provider will always break down the condition into stages. This helps to track the progress of the disease and determine the treatments to slow the decline.
Most forms of dementia are divided into three main stages: Mild, Moderate, and Severe. Here’s is what each stage means and what to look out for.
When the symptoms are still mild during the early stages of dementia, the patient might still live independently, socialize, and even drive to work.
You may notice some memory lapses, forgetting familiar words, or the location of everyday objects. Although the patient might not see this, other people might notice the difficulty, and some things “seem off.”
Some of the symptoms associated with the mild stage of dementia include:
- Difficulty in finding the right name or work
- Struggling to complete everyday tasks in a work or social setting
- Losing or misplacing things frequently.
- Forgetting something you just read
- Increased trouble organising or planning
- Having poor judgement when making simple decisions
Most people attribute the memory lapses to other factors like stress, general ageing, and grief during the mild stage. It is only after the condition has progressed that loved ones start to look back and realise that the memory losses were a sign of dementia.
The middle stage of dementia is the longest. It takes many years, and the person often requires an increasing level of care. During this stage, the persona might get their words mixed up, are often agitated, and get angry or frustrated. Unusual behaviours like refusing to bathe can also start to manifest.
Other symptoms in the moderate stage may include:
- Forgetting major events in your life or things that happened recently.
- Being withdrawn and moody, especially in social situations or in environments that require a lot of thought.
- Forgetting your address, high school, phone numbers, and other basic but vital information.
- Getting confused about what day it is or where they are.
- Requiring help choosing the clothes for the season or occasion.
- Changing sleeping patterns drastically.
- Personality and behavioural changes that include delusions, repetitive tendencies, and paranoia.
- Some patients might also have trouble with incontinence.
Severe dementia is often followed by high levels of care, resulting in total dependence on caregivers for support.
Patients in this stage are non-responsive to their environment and are incapable of carrying on a conversation or controlling movement. The symptoms continue to deteriorate, causing you to lose physical abilities like walking, sitting, and swallowing.
Patients in this stage of dementia can suffer from opportunistic infections, especially pneumonia. At this stage, dementia homes might be the best solution because they provide round-the-clock personal care and have a qualified nurse team.
At Midlands Care, we have fully equipped facilities that provide dementia residents with 24/7 care. In addition to providing excellent facilities, we pair that with a loving, friendly, and qualified staff and tailored care to give our dementia residents the best quality of life during their stay with us. You can contact us today to learn more about our dementia care services.