What Are the Stages of Dementia?

Nursing Services

Dementia is not an all-or-nothing condition. Rather, researchers and healthcare workers have identified common stages in the development of dementia. Before it is diagnosed, dementia may be preceded by a stage of mild cognitive impairment. Dementia care specialists in Monmouth County, NJ generally refer to seven stages of dementia, but the progression of cognitive impairment may vary from person to person.

Cognitive Functioning

The earliest stage is defined by the person’s normal cognitive functioning. Of course, each person starts with a different baseline of cognitive performance. Stage two refers to the first signs of mild cognitive decline. This is a tricky stage to recognize because most people fail to notice the small lapses in memory. The next stage is mild cognitive decline, at which time the condition becomes noticeable either by the person or by loved ones. Common signs include forgetting important appointments, frequently misplacing things, or not being able to articulate thoughts using common words and phrases.

Moderate Cognitive Decline

The next stage is the moderate cognitive decline, in which the person may still be able to function fairly normally but has tremendous difficulty doing complex tasks, communicating with others, managing finances, or concentrating. This is generally the stage at which most caregivers start to seek help but it can last for years. Following moderate cognitive decline is a severe cognitive decline, when the person becomes unable to take care of himself or herself. Daily activities like grooming are neglected and the person may be easily disoriented.

Middle Dementia and Late Dementia

Stages 6 and 7 are known as Middle Dementia and Late Dementia, respectively. At Stage 6, anxiety and agitation, as well as incontinence, may start to exhibit themselves as unfortunate symptoms. Finally, Stage 7 is when the person cannot communicate normally at all and may even lose sensorimotor skills entirely. A professional adult day care service provider like Jersey Shore offers memory care for Monmouth County seniors at all stages of dementia.

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