Dementia isn’t a disease, rather it is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that can include memory loss and confusion. It is a progressive condition with three stages; early, middle and late. Learning h can help you recognise the onset of decline. One of the most common types of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and others include Lewy Body and Vascular dementia. Here is how early dementia progresses and the signs and symptoms that are part of that progression.
It’s important to note that even though dementia has three stages, each individual will experience them differently. Dementia is a very fluid condition so there are no hard and fast rules about when a person will move from one stage to another. Some symptoms may appear in several stages, while others might not occur at all. Dementia occurs gradually and results in a slow worsening of symptoms as the chemistry of the brain and its structure are damaged. Dementia will reduce the person’s ability to:
Behaviors and moods will also change across the three stages of dementia.
Early stage dementia: The Alzheimer’s Society says there is “good evidence” that by the time people exhibit signs of dementia, the disease has existed for many years in their brain. The initial symptoms of dementia such as forgetfulness and difficulty retrieving words can be taken as signs of normal ageing, until they begin to occur more regularly and effect activities of daily living. The signs and symptoms of early stage dementia include:
In the early stages of dementia, your loved one may realize these memory losses are increasing and as a result become depressed or anxious. It is important to reassure and comfort them.
Middle stage dementia: As dementia progresses into the middle stage personality, behavioural and memory changes will become more noticeable.
Late-stage dementia: At this stage people will need almost complete help with daily living. They may require full-time nursing care. They may become non-verbal. They will be physically weak, will have significant trouble walking alone and may need a wheelchair. Other signs of late-stage dementia include:
Despite the difficult nature of these symptoms, it is important to remember that when you are with a loved one who suffers from dementia, he or she will respond to a kind word and a comforting touch. Understanding how to communicate with someone who has dementia can be hard, but it is still possible. It is important to soothe and reassure your loved one regardless of the stage of dementia they are in.
At M Care NI we strive to deliver the very highest standards of nursing and medical care needs for individuals. Our team engage in this ethos by providing the most compassionate and emphatic care to make their journey fulfilling and enjoyable.