Whether someone has Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, his or her health care provider will likely break the condition down into stages. Doing so helps medical professionals and caregivers track the disease's progress and measure symptoms, which can affect which treatments will be used to slow the decline. Most forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's, are divided into three stages: mild, moderate and severe. Here's what you should know about each.
1. Mild Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment may be difficult to spot at first. The person experiencing it may still be capable of living independently outside of a residential carefacility. He or she may still drive, go out to socialise and even work. However, friends, family members and health care providers may start to notice small signs that a person's memory is not what it used to be. Small lapses in memory may become more common, like forgetting the names of people and objects, getting lost more frequently, having more difficulty performing daily tasks and experiencing greater hardships while planning and organising.
The Alzheimer's Society noted that people often attribute these memory lapses to factors like stress, bereavement or general ageing. It is sometimes only after the person's cognitive decline progresses that family members look back and realise that those memory lapses were the first signs of dementia.
2. Moderate The symptoms of dementia are more clearly visible in the moderate stage, which often lasts the longest and can stretch over the course of several years. The memory lapses seen in the mild stage may become more prevalent, and other symptoms may begin to show, like social withdrawal, moodiness, confusion, denial of symptoms and more difficulty performing regular tasks. As the disease progresses, these symptoms might become worse and the person may need a higher level of care.
3. Severe Those who reach a severe stage of dementia often need high levels of care and may eventually become totally dependent on caregivers for support. Individuals in this stage often lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation and control movement. Daily activities and personal care require assistance to complete, so dementia care homes might be necessary to provide the best around-the-clock personal care. Otherwise, caregivers may have to provide assistance with eating, bathing and going to the toilet.
At Sunrise Senior Living, our dementia care homes are fully equipped to provide residents with the 24/7 assistance they need. To learn more information or to find a location near you, please select Contact us at the top of this page.