What are the stages of dementia?

There are various stages of dementia that affect cognitive abilities and memory loss in different ways. The stages of dementia generally vary among people who develop this condition. The first stage is generally known as early-onset dementia or mild dementia. Advanced stages of dementia can be difficult to control.

Dementia management often begins with a proper diagnosis. Evaluation for dementia is usually done by a trained professional. There are early warning signs of this progressive condition, which usually affects the elderly. Early memory loss usually occurs early on.

The patient with dementia may become forgetful and careless in performing critical tasks in daily life. Forgetting important dates, names, or anniversaries can often be a telltale sign. Patients in the early stages of dementia often find that they need organizational aids to help them cope with the condition. Programming tools and notebooks can help some people.

In the next series of stages of dementia, the symptoms become more apparent to the individual's loved ones and friends. At this stage, an ongoing change in personality can occur. Family members may recognize unusual actions or an inability to perform common tasks efficiently. These changes may include actions that are totally out of character.

In this second stage, the dementia patient may not fully absorb the instructions and may need to repeat them several times. She may become irritable and agitated more often, showing frustration with completing tasks she once easily mastered. The first signs of depression may begin to appear.

The final stage of dementia can be severe enough to cause a greater degree of dysfunction in the individual. Cognitive skills, reasoning, and logic can be severely impaired. The patient's thoughts may be irrational and paranoia and mistrust may also be a problem. Very often, the patient is unable to perform essential activities of daily living, such as going to the bathroom or feeding themselves. In advanced stages of dementia, the patient may neglect personal hygiene and appearance.

As a type of therapy for patients with early to moderately advanced dementia, memory lessons or games can help. Some of these activities may be puzzles or card games. Cognitive reasoning tests can also be used. These can be done at home or in a therapy session with a trained professional.

Drug therapy can also be prescribed for patients with dementia. Some dementia medications have side effects and patients may be at risk of complications. Patients with heart conditions may not be suitable for certain medications used to treat dementia symptoms.

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