When assessing senior mental decline, caregivers and loved ones should be aware of the seven stages of dementia. Understanding these phases can provide opportunities to prepare for the future. Additionally, it will allow you to better empathize with the older person’s current situation and emotional state.
The Evolution of Dementia
1. No Dementia
At this stage, the older individual is mentally fit, with normal, small lapses in memory. This can apply to middle-aged adults, as well as older seniors.
2. Very Mild Decline
During stage two, people aren’t likely to notice they are developing cognitive issues. While the senior may alter their usual behaviors, they are still functioning normally and can care for themselves.
3. Mild Decline
People often realize they are having trouble with their memory as they reach stage three. Seniors may begin misplacing items or forgetting what has happened in the recent past.
4. Moderate Decline
Older individuals in moderate decline are likely to have trouble driving or navigating public transit. They will forget how to handle money and potentially be unable to use a traditional analog clock.
5. Moderately Severe Decline
At stage five, caregivers will need to provide one-on-one assistance to seniors as they cannot function daily without help. Seniors often lose track of time and don’t know the day. They likely struggle to cook, clean after themselves, and forget to maintain personal hygiene.
6. Severe Decline
Individuals who have reached this step might undergo personality changes and have mood swings. They’ll forget the names of family members and significant places and will be unable to eat or use the bathroom solo.
7. Very Severe Decline
In the end, those with dementia will require hospice care. They will likely lose their ability to speak and will be confined to their bed unless using mobility aids with supervision. Caregivers' focus should turn to providing comfort during this time and making their last moments as happy as possible.
Those looking for caregivers for senior loved ones who have dementia should contact Advantage Home Health & Hospice in Le Flore County, OK. Locally-owned and -operated, they have a 4-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services thanks to their knowledgable, experienced, and compassionate staff. Call (918) 647-0653 or visit the website for information on their services from in-home hospice care to skilled nursing.