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The 7 Stages of Dementia and Symptoms

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Dementia, often associated with the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, can be a challenging journey. It is not just a single condition but rather a series of phases, each with its own set of symptoms and challenges. It is either caused by abnormal protein deposits or else due to some damage to blood vessels because of strokes. Apart from that, other causes include Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV-related dementia, and reversible factors like vitamin deficiencies or medication side effects. To make the journey through these stages easier and more comprehensible, let’s explore the seven stages of dementia and their symptoms.

Stage 1: No Impairment

At this early stage, individuals go about their daily routines, seemingly unaffected. Having no huge cognitive changes, they feel calm, but it is the calm before the storm.

Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

In the second stage, we encounter subtle ripples in the cognitive pond. Minor memory lapses happen, which do not seem alarming to the patient, for they take them as part of aging, but also, these are early signs that advanced dementia may be waiting down the road.

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline

As the condition progresses further into the labyrinth of dementia, the third stage reveals itself. Memory lapses become more pronounced. Individuals may confuse names and words with one another. It’s like entering a maze where advanced dementia might be hiding around the next corner. And this is exactly where the quality of life usually starts to deteriorate.

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Our journey takes us deeper, and the landscape shifts. Now, it becomes concerning for both the patient and the family. We now face the challenges of moderate cognitive decline, where the patient forgets recent events, struggles with simple arithmetic, and has difficulties managing finances. The memory becomes increasingly elusive and short-term. In this fourth level of dementia, the path ahead is winding, and advanced dementia is closer on the horizon.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

The journey becomes more challenging. The patient is now amidst moderately severe cognitive decline. Here, the individual begins to require assistance with daily living. As we tread further, symptoms such as disorientation regarding time and place, difficulty dressing appropriately, and an inability to recall crucial personal details appear. When a patient reaches this stage, they commonly have difficulty solving basic arithmetic.

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Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

Here the storm is upon the patient in the severe stage of dementia. Individuals may need constant supervision and care. Symptoms intensify into a proper disorder. The patient shows severe memory loss, has difficulty recognizing loved ones, and shows acute mood swings. It is that stage where the patient might fall into depression until he or she has emotional support from any family member and the memory care facility. It also happens in the seven stages of frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline

The seventh stage is a place of profound cognitive decline. Here, individuals are unable to communicate or care for themselves. Symptoms include the inability to speak and loss of motor skills. Since the patient is bedridden, he or she depends completely on others for all daily activities. Here it is the advanced dementia phase, where the challenges are most profound. If it remains persistent, there is a fear in the reduction of the life expectancy of the patient. 

Navigating the stages of dementia is a complex journey, and it often leads to the advanced dementia phase. Understanding each stage and the associated symptoms is vital for providing the right care and support. Caregivers, families, and healthcare professionals working together can provide a supportive and enriching environment for individuals with dementia, offering therapies and activities that stimulate cognition and make the journey less painful. Though the patients lose their memory, they still have the capacity to love and laugh. At last, if the dementia progresses to its advanced stages, we would be more than kind to admit the patient to a promising memory care facility.

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