Dementia: Signs and Progression

Caring for a loved one struggling with memory loss or dementia is difficult. The emotional challenges you face after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis takes courage and each progressive stage is unique. There are tell-tale signs with each worsening level of this brain disorder.

The following stages will guide you towards understanding the signs of progression and will provide helpful tips in managing care options for your loved one.

Stage One: Mild Symptoms 

Most individuals at this stage are still able to function independently. However, some assistance may be necessary to ensure safety and help with certain activities. 

Signs to watch for: 

  • Difficulty remembering correct words or names 
  • Unusual difficulty with social or work-related tasks
  • Forgetting soon after reading or hearing something
  • Overwhelmed by planning/organizing uncomplicated tasks

Helpful tips for stage one: 

Patience is key – Remain patient when these early signs appear. 

Support healthy habits – Encourage healthy eating, exercise, memory games, and social interactions. 

Stage Two: Moderate Symptoms 

This is typically the longest stage of dementia. Individuals experience more obvious trouble communicating and performing routine habits. 

Signs to watch for: 

  • Forgetting significant past events 
  • Easily becoming moody
  • Easily confused 
  • Not recalling address, phone number, etc.
  • Tendency to wander or get lost

Helpful tips for stage two dementia: 

Support a predictable routine – Establish a strong, reliable daily pattern to follow. This reduces confusion and frustration when routines are disorganized and unpredictable. 

Communicate effectively – Practice actively listening and choosing the best words or actions to best communicate. 

Stage Three: Severe Symptoms

Dementia symptoms are more exaggerated, proving most difficult to experience and manage. Memory and cognitive functions worsen significantly.

Signs to watch for: 

  • Severe communication difficulty
  • Easily prone to infections, including pneumonia
  • Trouble walking, sitting, swallowing
  • Loss of personal awareness and surroundings
  • Personal care requires 24-hour availability

Helpful tips for stage three: 

Non-verbal cues — Focus on communicating non-verbally with your loved one.  Provide positive feedback for their remaining capabilities. 

Holistic care – Support the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your loved one. A holistic approach considers these key areas. 

Losing your loved one to Alzheimer’s or dementia is a tragic experience for everyone. However, there are care options to assist you through this difficult process.

South Coast Post Acute is a Leader in Post-Acute Care

South Coast Post Acute is committed to innovative patient care. We focus on effective post-surgery recovery treatments. We strive to prevent rehospitalizations. Contact us today to learn how we can help you on your journey back to full health.

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