Among various diseases and health problems in the old age, Dementia is one of the diseases that affect many elderly people. At times if you notice memory loss problems or slips for yourself or an elderly family member you might automatically assume that they are in dealing with the early stages of dementia, but this assumption may prove to be wrong. Memory loss to an extent is normal with increasing age and is called (MCI) Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Dementia generally progresses gradually. To make an accurate diagnosis of dementia in the early stages can be difficult. For identifying that one is suffering from dementia several visits with a doctor may be needed. The dementia symptoms usually interfere with the daily life activities. Moreover, the symptoms also affect more than one type of brain functions that includes communication, memory, language or judgment.
Below are listed the five stages of Dementia that illustrate the patient’s ability to perform in six different areas of functioning and cognition: orientation, personal care, memory, home and hobbies, judgment, and community.
In the initial stage, the person no deficit in their abilities. No significant impairments and memory problems are acknowledged, people are fully oriented in place and time, have normal judgment, no behavioral problem, have a adequately managed life, and are able to take care of their personal needs in an absolute manner.
In this stage, people may have very mild memory inconsistencies. People might struggle to resolve and complete challenging problems and have difficulty with timing. It is possible that they may be slipping at work or when involved in social activities. However, at this stage, people can still manage to take care of themselves without any help.
In this stage, the problems become quite noticeable and regular, but the changes are still mild. People may suffer from Short-term memory which may disrupt some activities of their day. People might start to become confused or disoriented geographically and may have trouble to identify with directions and getting from one location to another.
People may also have difficulty to function or do task independently at places outside their home. At home, everyday jobs may get neglected, and somebody may have to remind them to take care of their household jobs and their personal hygiene at regular interval.
At this fourth stage, the patient shows the signs of moderate impairment. The symptoms become worse and at this stage, they now need help to take care of hygiene. Although they are well enough to go out to social engagements and activities or to do every day jobs, however, they need to accompany caregivers.
It is the stage the patient is most likely to easily disorientate with both time and space. They get lost easily, have the lack of responsibility and struggle to understand things and situations. It becomes difficult to remember new things which include people they recently met; short-term memory is seriously impaired during this stage.
The fifth stage of dementia problem is the most severe. At this stage, patients cannot do their work and perform basic activities of daily life without the help of the caregiver. The patients experience extreme memory loss at this phase of dementia. Additionally, they have difficulty and have no understanding of direction, time or location. The patient is essentially unable to take care of themselves and it is nearly impossible for them to go out and be a part of everyday activities, even with caregiver assistance. For their personal needs, they completely depend on the assistance and care.
The majority cases of dementia are progressive, but some of them are reversible also.
If dementia is caused by an infection, a Vitamin or nutritional deficiency, because of the side effect of a medication or from brain bleeding, the dementia symptoms can be stopped and reversed provided that the primary cause is treated efficiently. If you or loved one is suffering from dementia or experience any dementia symptoms then they must see a doctor and arrange for a care that is required.