Stages of Dementia

There are multiple stages and types of dementia that many families and caregivers commonly work closely with. Dementia care services are available and recommended for many stages of the disease.

Western Slope Memory Care specifically aids and supports seniors with Alzheimer’s association and other related dementia conditions. As dementia progresses, housing and specialized care helps with dedicated care providers and stimulus for a better quality of life without the normal stresses of daily living.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a blanket term for loss of language, memory, thinking abilities and problem-solving skills to a point where the daily routine is disturbed. Alzheimer’s is the most common root cause of dementia.

Many conditions are progressive, meaning the signs of dementia symptoms start out slowly and gradually worsen over time. If you or a loved one seems like there are changes in thinking skills, see a doctor as soon as possible to discover the root of the issue. Catching dementia related diseases in their earlier stages, proper diagnosis and treatment may be possible. Catching it early may also help plan for the future.

Dementia Symptoms

Since dementia diagnosis is a general blanket term, symptoms vary from person to person. Some of the warning signs are:

  • Memory, Short-term memory
  • Keeping track of a purse or wallet.
  • Issues with paying bills.
  • Planning and preparing meals.
  • Remembering appointments.
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Communication skills and completing everyday tasks.
  • Reduced effectiveness with reasoning, judgment, and problem solving
  • Visual perception beyond typical age-related changes in vision

Visual cues and safety concerns that may point to dementia and may need professional daily care include:

  • Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
  • Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects
  • Forgetting the name of a close family member or friend
  • Forgetting old memories
  • Not being able to complete tasks independently

Isn’t Dementia Part Of Normal Aging?

A common misconception is that seniors just get dementia. This is not true. Many older adults live their entire lives with no sign or development of dementia. Signs of standard, normal aging include stiffening of arteries and vessels, weakened muscles and bones, and age-related memory issues different than dementia. These can be things like:

  • Forgetting names
  • Occasionally misplacing car keys
  • Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
  • Forgetting the most recent events

Typically without dementia, knowledge and experiences, language and experiences built over decades should remain. With elderly people at least 65 years of age, there is an estimated 5.0 million adults with dementia in 2014 and projected to be nearly 14 million by 2060.

image of people with dementia making health care decisions.

What Increases The Risk For Dementia?

  • Age. One of the most common risk factors for dementia is increased age. Most cases are with elders over the age of 65.
  • Family history. If there is a history with family members being diagnosed, chances will be more likely higher for other family members to also be diagnosed.
  • Poor heart health. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking increase the risk of dementia if proper treatment is not administered.
  • Traumatic brain injury. Head injuries can increase the risk of dementia, especially if they are severe or have multiple head injuries.

How Is Dementia Diagnosed?

Dementia is diagnosed by a healthcare provider by performing tests on attention, problem solving, memory and other cognitive abilities for signs of concern. More involved tests like blood tests, physical exam and brain scans will help uncover the root cause.

You may want to go to the medical appointments of your loved one’s doctor to be a support source for your family member and learn more about their condition. You will then want to work with a dementia care coordinator to find the best memory care plan so your loved one can maintain their dignity with proper care.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Dementia?

  • Alzheimer’s disease. Accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases, Alzheimer’s is caused by specific changes to the brain. With issues remembering recent events like a conversation that happened minutes ago. Difficulty in walking, talking and personality changes in the later stages.
  • Vascular dementia. This type is linked to strokes and/or other issues with blood flow to the brain. Risk factors for this are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Depending on the area and size of the brain that has been effected, symptoms may vary. Further stages of this type lead to sudden severe symptoms where strokes are frequent.
  • Lewy body dementia. This type adds more to the typical symptoms like memory loss, movement and balance issues occur like stiffness or trembling. Your loved one’s dementia diagnosis with Lewy body may also have symptoms where confusion, daytime sleepiness or staring spells may happen.
picture of people with dementia trying to self care with personal activities.

How Is Dementia Treated?

Depending on the underlying cause dementia care or treatment varies. Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative dementias have no cure. Medications are available that protect the brain and/or manage symptoms like anxiety or behavior changes. There is much research underway for more treatment options.

It is recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, healthy diet and socialization may help slow further stages and may reduce the chances of getting memory disorders.

Memory and dementia care are an excellent source of providing the best, most attentive care possible as the disease progresses. Families can also have the peace of mind with the caregiver resources adding safety features to the daily life of their loved one.

Western Slope Memory Care

If you or a family member were recently diagnosed with dementia, Western Slope Memory Care has many programs specifically for dementia care services. Dementia care offers safety features and support groups that in home care cannot meet.

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