What are the stages of dementia?

Most medical professionals agree that there are seven stages of dementia:

  1. No Impairment – In this stage, people function without any signs of dementia whatsoever. They are independent and no symptoms are present.
  2. Very Mild – Forgetfulness is present, but is attributed to a common symptom of aging. A person may lose their keys and then find it upon minimal searching.
  3. Mild – Symptoms are more noticeable at this stage and family members will probably show concern. A person still is able to be independent and can perform daily tasks such as using the bathroom and getting dressed. However, there is more memory loss, it becomes difficult to concentrate, and tasks such as balancing a checkbook seem more complicated. The average duration is 7 years before the onset of dementia.
  4. Moderate – At this stage, daily tasks are harder to perform (such as doing laundry or using the phone). Incontinence, memory loss of recent events, and struggling to find the right words are evident. Patients also tend to withdrawal from social situations at this point because their socialization skills are also becoming impaired. The average duration is two years.
  5. Moderately Severe – Help is needed to perform daily tasks. Memory loss includes not remembering home address, phone number, and other basic information. Judgment is lacking such as choosing the proper clothing to wear in different seasons. Help is required to assist with daily tasks such as bathing, getting dressed, and preparing meals. The average duration is a year and a half.
  6. Severe – At this point, a caregiver is necessary. Help with most daily tasks is needed from getting dressed to using the bathroom. Wandering from home is a common occurrence as is forgetting the names of caregivers and loved ones. Personality changes are present with the patient acting paranoid, having hallucinations, or acting on compulsions (like endless cleaning). The average duration is two and a half years.
  7. Very Severe – In this final stage of the disease, there is a loss of language skills, loss of awareness to the patient’s surroundings, no bladder control, and loss of muscle control so the patient needs help walking and eating. The average duration is two and a half years.

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