In most cases, dementia has a very slow rate of progression. Though there is no cure for this syndrome, getting the right medication can help make day to day life more comfortable for the patient and slow down the advancement of dementia. Dementia is often discussed with regard to its stages. This refers to how far the condition has advanced. Knowing what stage the condition has reached is crucial in determining what type of medication is best suited to the person. Colloquially, the stages of dementia may be referred to as early stages, middle stages or late stages but dementia can be categorized according to seven stages. This is most relevant in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. These are:
Stage I – No cognitive decline
At this stage, the patient does not show any signs of dementia and can take care of himself. He is considered to be mentally healthy.
Stage II Very Mild Cognitive decline
With age, a person may turn forgetful and not recall names and numbers and frequently misplace things. This is referred to as the stage II.
Stage III Mild cognitive decline
This stage can last for up to 7 years before the onset of dementia. At this point, a patient’s family members and friends will begin to notice cognitive decline in the form of forgetfulness, decreased performance and reduced concentration abilities.
Stage IV Moderate cognitive decline
This stage is marked by the onset of dementia. A patient can stay in this stage for approximately 2 years. This stage is marked by inability to remember recent events, difficulty in concentrating, trouble in solving complex problems and difficulty with socializing. From this stage onwards, a person suffering from dementia should always be accompanied by someone while travelling to new locations, even though they may be in denial of their symptoms.
Stage V Moderate to severe cognitive decline
By the time they reach this stage, a person suffering from dementia will have major memory loss and need assistance with day to day activities such as getting dressed, cooking etc. It is also fairly common for people to get confused about the date and time at this stage. Stage V can last an average of one and a half years.
Stage VI Severe cognitive decline
At this stage, a person cannot manage things on his own and needs constant help. Memory loss in this stage extends from short term memory loss to forgetting names of their family members and other parts of their long term memory. Bladder incontinence and bowel problems are common issues at this stage. The patient might also undergo personality changes and suffer from anxiety and hallucinations.
Stage VII Very severe cognitive decline
In this stage of dementia, a person loses his ability to communicate as well as psychomotor skills, making him completely dependent on others.