Dementia is a general term used to describe the impaired ability to think, remember, or make decisions that interfere with everyday activities, often associated with advancement in age. People suffering from dementia have disrupted cognitive functions caused by abnormal protein growth around the brain cells.

It can be difficult to diagnose dementia early, especially since occasional memory loss is a normal part of aging. However, if memory loss starts to affect and disrupt daily life, it might be an early sign of dementia. Diagnosing dementia early will allow your loved one to benefit more from both drug and non-drug treatment methods and prevent the condition from worsening further. We are here to help you in understanding dementia.

The Stages of Dementia

The most common way to break down dementia into different stages is through analyzing the severity of the cognitive decline. Early stages involve an extremely mild decline in cognitive ability which cause senior to experience occasional forgetfulness, such as forgetting names and where they last placed certain objects.

Over time, this will slowly progress to mild cognitive decline, where individuals start to experience difficulty in concentrating, verbal repetition, finding themselves lost more often, and even having trouble finding the right words when communicating. This stage can last 2-7 years and is also the crucial stage for diagnosis and intervention.

Once it has progressed to moderate cognitive decline, individuals start to forget recent events, happenings, and names of new people. At this stage, denial is commonly observed and thus family members should take note to be extra careful when bringing up the topic of memory loss in conversations.

When dementia has reached a stage of severe cognitive decline, individuals are no longer able to perform daily living activities and require assistance. Symptoms are easy to identify, and dementia is extremely apparent. At this stage, patients might not be able to recall even the important events and aspects of their lives like addresses and phone numbers. Other severe symptoms include loss of bladder control, increased aggression, and forgetting the names of their family members.

The last and final stage of dementia (late dementia) is where almost all verbal abilities are lost and spoken words are unintelligible. Symptoms include the inability to walk, restlessness, and urinary incontinence. 

Caring for Dementia Patients

The right care is essential in preventing the condition of dementia from worsening quicker. There is a lot that goes into providing the best care for dementia patients, such as treating them with dignity and respect to allow the affected patient to retain as much of who they were as much as possible.

Their daily life should also enable them to have social interactions and sufficient cognitive stimulation so that the brain stays active and keep dementia in control as much as possible. If you are looking to move your loved one into a senior living community with different options including one with a memory care program, then you should find one that is certified by the Alzheimer’s Association, like Aston Gardens At Parkland Commons.