October 9, 2020
Caring for a loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is a very emotional role to take on. Growing up, you probably never envisioned yourself caring for your parent and it is probably a concept you’re struggling to come to terms with. Know that you’re not alone in feeling this way. Nearly 15 million Americans serve as caregivers for their loved ones and have similar questions you do.
Questions like, “What will my loved one experience as their dementia progresses?” may be on your mind. This is where we can help. The more you learn about the disease, the better the care you’ll be able to provide.
The cognitive decline that dementia brings doesn’t happen all at once. Rather, it tends to progress over seven different stages. Understanding these stages may be able to help you react quicker and seek help sooner for your loved one.
Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline
The first stage of dementia is very mild and your loved one will most likely still be functioning normally. It’s common that in this stage, your loved one will not display any signs of significant memory problems or cognitive decline. This stage is very mild and sometimes is referred to as one of the “pre-dementia” stages.
Stage 2: Age-Associated Memory Impairment
In the second stage of dementia, your loved one will experience occasional bouts of memory loss. You might notice that your loved one occasionally forgets where they placed something or forgets the name of a friend or family member. At this minor stage, it may be hard to detect whether or not your loved one is dealing with normal memory impairment or early signs of dementia. Encouraging them to be evaluated by their doctor can help catch dementia early.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment
It is in stage three that your loved one will begin to experience very distinct cognitive decline. Some signs of stage three include noticeably poor performance at work, getting lost easily, difficulty retaining information and difficulty concentrating. Your loved one may also experience mild anxiety if they begin to experience any of these symptoms. If you feel like your loved one has reached this stage, it may be beneficial to the both of you to seek a clinical interview with their doctor.
Stage 4: Mild Dementia
In stage four, it’s likely that your loved one will become socially withdrawn and they may begin to show changes in their personality. Some behavioral changes you might notice include difficulty remembering personal information, a decreased ability to handle finances, difficulty recognizing faces and decreased knowledge of current events. In this stage, you might notice your loved one avoiding challenging situations to attempt to hide their symptoms.
Stage 5: Moderate Dementia
During stage five, your loved one will likely begin to need help with the activities of daily living. One of the most apparent signs in stage five is your loved one’s inability to remember important details of their life. You might notice that your loved one is disoriented, has trouble making decisions and frequently forgets personal information.
Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia
An apparent sign that your loved one has reached stage six of dementia is when they begin to forget the names of their children or other close family members. In this stage, your loved one may become unaware of their surroundings and unable to recall recent events. Your loved one might also begin to display delusional and obsessive behavior, and loss of willpower.
Stage 7: Severe Dementia
In this final stage of dementia, your loved one will experience loss of motor skills and might become unable to speak as the dementia progresses. In this stage, your loved one will most likely need help with things like walking, eating and using the bathroom.
At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, we understand that caring for a loved one living with dementia is an emotional, demanding role. That’s why we offer specialized memory care for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Our memory care program includes a specially trained staff, structured and stimulating programming, and a safe, secure environment for your loved one. We understand that every individual diagnosed with dementia will experience the disease in different ways. That’s why our memory care program is designed to provide those living with dementia personalized care, so that they can continue to live a purposeful life.
Contact us today at 585-546-8400 to learn more about our memory care programming and senior living options.