When making care decisions for a loved one who is exhibiting symptoms of memory loss or dementia, it is important to understand the different stages they may undergo. Having greater knowledge of the changes in behavior and skills will allow you to effectively plan for the care and treatment of your loved one with the help of healthcare providers and caregivers. The following stages were developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, and make up the Global Deterioration Scale.
Stage 1 – No Cognitive Decline
The individual’s cognitive functions are healthy and normal. They have no memory loss, behavioral problems, or any other factors associated with dementia.
Stage 2 – Very Mild Cognitive Decline
The individual experiences mild forgetfulness, which can typically be attributed to regular aging. There are no apparent dementia symptoms being exhibited.
Stage 3 – Mild Cognitive Decline
The individual’s forgetfulness and memory loss become more prevalent. They might have some issues with communication and concentration, and difficulty with complex and/or work-related tasks. Caregivers should start recognizing the signs at this stage.
Stage 4 – Moderate Cognitive Decline
The individual’s forgetfulness and memory loss are intensified, especially regarding recent events or information, and become apparent to those around them. They will find it difficult to travel by themselves or handle finances. They may also prefer to withdraw from challenging and/or social situations, sometimes due to self-denial. These signs can be detected through a medical evaluation, and caregivers should get involved in the individual’s care plan. This stage is also known as Mild Dementia.
Stage 5 – Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
The individual frequently exhibits short-term memory loss symptoms and requires assistance with some activities. They may also be disoriented and unsure of the time, date, and place they are in. This stage is also known as Moderate Dementia.
Stage 6 – Severe Cognitive Decline
The individual will require assistance for daily activities and may have full-time care. They may forget the names of family members, be unaware of their surroundings, and struggle with communication. Behavioral and personality changes, which can include hallucinations, anxiety, delusions, agitation, and compulsions, occur at this stage. They may also experience incontinence, bowel issues, and/or sleep disturbances. This stage is also known as Moderately Severe Dementia.
Stage 7 – Very Severe Cognitive Decline
As this is the final stage, or Severe Dementia, the individual will require round-the-clock care as they will have difficulty with basic activities like eating, moving, and walking. They may lose their motor skills, their ability to speak and communicate, and have no awareness of others and their surroundings. Trained caregivers need to focus on increasing quality of life and providing comfort, given that the individual’s cognitive and physical abilities have severely deteriorated.
Embark on Memory Care with TerraBella Lake Norman
The memory care program at TerraBella Lake Norman takes a scientific and person-centered approach to care for individuals dealing with dementia and other memory-related conditions. We strive for all residents to lead fulfilling and comfortable lifestyles. If you are interested to find out more about our enrichment programs, contact us today!