Senility is part of aging but dementia is not. Dementia is also not a particular disease.
When people lose their thinking skills, they also lose the ability to do everyday tasks. There is Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and other cases. Understanding dementia stages will give you the power to know what to do; and how to cope when you have a loved one who is suffering from it.
During the different dementia stages; you can identify the causes of the condition, including those that are reversible for instance, vitamin deficiency and thyroid problems. Family members and caretakers should be familiar on what to do during particular dementia stages; in order to be able to give the proper care and to avoid any untoward incidences usually associated with conditions during the different stages.
Incorrectly, dementia has often been referred to as being senile. Dementia is not simply about being forgetful or disoriented as one grows to an old age. It is a serious mental decline—and not it doesn’t happen to all aged folks.
Different people suffer from different symptoms of dementia. They vary greatly from one person to another.
There must be significant impairment to two or more core mental functions of a person in order to be diagnosed with dementia including the following: memory; reasoning and judgment, communication and language, visual perception; ability to focus or pay attention.
While it may start with short-term memory loss such as forgetting keys or purses, failure to track appointments and bills; among other things, dementia is a progressive case. The symptoms start small and slowly and gets worse over time.
People, especially in stressful environments, can experience loss of memory and other mental issues. This, of course, does not mean that they are suffering from dementia or are in early dementia stages. There are many causes. Nevertheless, when symptoms are present, it is always good to see a doctor.
It is important to always be watchful over your aging love ones. Donot ignore simple experiences of difficulties in their memory or changes in the way they think or communicate. There may be a cause and when the dementia stages are identified early; through progressive evaluation, treatment and intervention can be done early.
When the brain cells are damaged, the ability of the cells to communicate is hampered. When the regions of the brain are damage, the functions are affected. This brings a grave effect on the way people think, feel and behave.
When a person has Alzheimer’s disease, the protein levels in the brain cells that are in the region called the hippocampus prevent the cells from communicating to each other and staying healthy; hence, learning and memory is grossly affected.
Most of the changes that happen in the brain are permanent and they get worse, especially when left untreated. But if the reasons for the memory and thinking problems are caused by depression; excessive use of alcohol, side effects of medication, vitamin deficiencies; and thyroid problems, effects can be reversed or improved.
There is no single test that can properly identify if people is suffering from dementia. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration such as a thorough physical examination, study of medical history; many laboratory tests and an observation of the changes in day-to-day behavior; function and thinking. Similarly, treatment and care for dementia will be dependent in the cause.
Seven Dementia Stages
As with any progressive disease; people who suffer from dementia will go through seven stages but with differing speeds and symptoms. To date, there is no cure for dementia but early detection can still bring its benefits. Dementia is an incurable and irreversible illness.
Nevertheless, early diagnosis will help people determine the best care to provide as well as necessary treatment. With dementia, the decline does not happen all at once, it progresses in seven identifiable levels of dementia.
First Stage: There is no cognitive decline.
The first three stages of dementia are recognized pre-dementia stages, wherein there are no significant issues with thinking memory or cognitive functions. That said, no one can say that they are in the first stage of dementia.
Second Stage: There is age – related memory loss or impairment.
People suffer occasional lapses in memory such as forgetting names and faces of familiar people; and forgetting about where things have been placed. However; this decline in cognitive fun; ction often comes with aging that is why it is difficult to tell if someone has dementia. The signs in early dementia stages are so subtle and virtually undetectable when subjected to clinical testing.
Third Stage: There is mild cognitive impairment.
During the third stage, the signs and symptoms are more clearly seen. A person can get lost easily, forget the names and faces of family members or close friends; easily forget what he has just read or difficulty remembering, have poor performance at work; have problems with concentration, or lose things or misplace them.
While it is normal to forget someone’s name or where you left an important thing; when these affect your daily life; then it is considered a problem and could be the third stage of dementia.
Fourth Stage: Experiencing mild dementia.
People with mild dementia will tend to become withdrawn from the social world. They shun interaction and will exhibit changes in their moods and personality very different from which they are. Further depriving themselves of treatment or care.
People who are on the fourth stage of dementia will suffer from decreased knowledge of what is happening around them; especially recent events as well as difficulty remembering things in their past.
They will also have a hard time handling their finances and will be quite disoriented. They will find it hard to recognize faces and people they once knew, even places they once visited.
The problem with people in this stage is that they will avoid interaction because they fear that situations may challenge them; and cause stress or anxiety—their natural tendency is to hide.
If someone you know is at this stage; the best way to help them is for them to get appropriate treatment and care. The more they withdraw, the faster the symptoms will worsen
Fifth Stage: Experiencing moderate dementia.
Dementia stages worsen over time and when patients reach stage five, they will require assistance with everyday living. The most prominent sign of those in stage five are disorientation; and forgetting major details in the lives of people who are important to them.
They will have extreme difficulty making decisions and remembering basic information about themselves like their address and telephone number. Dementia at this stage interferes badly with basic daily cognitive functions; but may not interfere with other functions like eating and going to the bathroom. Depending on the gravity of the stage; they may still remember their full name and names of people who live with them like their spouse and children
Sixth Stage: Experiencing moderately severe dementia.
At this stage, the patient will begin to forget the name of their spouse, children, or their primary caregivers. They will require full care because they cannot recall what happened recently; and they have a blurry recollection of their past. The may not be totally aware of their surroundings and can exhibit delusional behavior. During moderately severe dementia, the patient will lose willpower; Often people sixth stage 6 dementia wander around—and at this stage, it is unsafe for them.
Seventh Stage: Experiencing severe dementia.
Patients will lose motor skills at the last of the dementia stages. They will also lose their speaking ability as the brain will lose connection with the body. They will require help with everything: eating, walking, and going to the bathroom.
What is the importance of understanding the stages of dementia? When you recognize the early dementia stages, you can immediately seek medical treatment and delay the progression to other stages. You may be able to identify the underlying causes of the symptoms and reverse them. When you are aware of dementia stages; you will be able to quickly react, get help and care for your loved ones or yourself. One of the reasons why dementia progresses fast is the lack of knowledge.
IF you are suffering early signs and symptoms, the more you hold yourself back, the worse your situation can get. And even if you are on the third or fourth dementia stage for instance; isn’t it better to face the life ahead of you being prepared? You don’t have to miss out on life. You can prepare for it and still live fully.