Whether you’re a young caregiver or a senior reaching your later years, it’s important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of dementia. So that you can do what’s needed in a moment’s notice. So that you can act based on correct information.
Dementia is categorized in stages. And these stages are based on a scale of zero to mild to very severe. The scale is a tool meant to put the symptoms of dementia into words. So that when the time comes, it’s easy to relate where you or your senior are at.
Let’s break it down.
Stage 1 – Zero
This first stage is like the base line for the rest of the scale. People who have zero or no cognitive decline fall under this stage. And it essentially means, you do not have dementia.
Stage 2 – Very Mild
This is the stage where we start to see a bit of cognitive decline. Simple forgetfulness would put you in this category. But it is a very minimal amount of forgetfulness, very normal to old age. And it is likely that only you would notice at this point. Medically, you would be diagnosed as not having dementia.
Stage 3 – Mild
In this stage, forgetfulness increases. But we also start to notice other symptoms as well. Things like trouble with organization and concentration are big in this category. And often times, they lead to a decrease in work productivity. The diagnosis for this is still no dementia. However, the cognitive decline may start to be apparent to close friends and loved ones.
Stage 4 – Moderate
This stage is also known as early-stage dementia, and it is at this stage that a doctor would be able to officially diagnosis a patient. Trouble remembering recent things or getting lost easily are big indicators of this stage. And those who begin to experience these symptoms, may start to isolate themselves from friends and family.
Stage 5 – Moderately Severe
This is the first stage that patients will start to need help with everyday activities. Seniors in this category will often need help with things like getting dressed, meal prep, and hygiene. It is not uncommon to have an at-home care assistant at this point.
Stage 6 – Severe
Although this stage (as well as stage 5) is considered mid-stage, cognitive decline is extremely severe here. Seniors diagnosed as having stage 6 dementia will need a lot of care and attention. They not only will have trouble remembering recent events, but also earlier life events. They may even forget the names of those who are close to them or mistake them for others from their past. Patients may be delusional in this stage, and often mix up where and when they are.
Stage 7 – Very Severe
Those who fall under this stage need round the clock personal assistance. Motor functions severely decrease to the point where patients may even have trouble holding up their heads. And speech and communication capabilities become near zero.