This blog was written by Gayle Yarbrough. You may have read The Ups & Downs of Being a Family Caregiver in the Home the first blog I posted for Gayle. Many of you read that article and found it very informative on what it takes to be a care giver. Keep the comments and suggestions coming. That is really how it works to share to other caregivers, for some information that they may have not been aware of.. Now this next blog is really important to understand the the different stages of Dementia. There are different stages and may not apply to all of the individuals with Dementia. I do recommend to at least know some of the types of dementia and the stages.
I hope you will take the time to read this Blog by Gayle Yarbrough, as it will be helpful for you as a caregiver, to have some important information should you need it.
Take a break with some Tea and Cookies and relax and take some time to read this Blog written by Gayle Yarbrough We wonder if you have any thoughts or comments on this blog created by Gayle.
IN DEPTH STAGES OF DEMENTIA
I wanted to help those that don’t know all the facts about the stages and types of dementia. There are different types of dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe several different types of cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s is the most common.
Dementia progresses in 3 stages….this is more of a category
*It begins of course in the early (mild) stages. The individual may start to realize something is wrong. They may try and hide their symptoms. Symptoms may very, depending on the area of the brain being effected. It may be memory loss or behavioral changes. Things like forgetting names, misplacing keys or driving to work on a Sat.
*The next stage would be the middle (moderate) stage. In this stage people close to the individual start to notice changes. Frustration, anger, mood swings, conflicts with others, uncooperative and suspension of others.
*In the late (severe) stages, there is extensive damage to the brain. They become dependent for all activities, their mobility decreases, they sleep most of the time, their ability to talk and find the right word diminishes and their overall health worsens…they become very fragile.
THE SEVEN STAGES OF DECLINE
The 7 Stage Model of dementia breaks down the Cognitive decline. Most Doctor’s. Use this model to rate dementia. The progression can vary a lot by the dementia and the person in general. Understanding the stages can help us know the kind of care that will be needed as the disease progresses.
Stage #1 No severe memory loss or impairment.
Stage #2 Very mild decline of memory, as associated with aging.
Stage #3 Mild cognitive decline…family and friends begin to notice.
Stage #4 Moderate decline-a neurologist can comfortably diagnose Alzheimer’s. They may ask the person to do a simple math problem, what their address is or what the date and time is….usually the person can’t figure out most answers.
Stage #5 Moderately severe decline. They become more disoriented, confused, need help with daily activities. At this stage they may need more care in their home.
Stage #6 Severe cognitive decline. Worsened memory loss, difficulty recognizing immediate family members and personality changes and can become aggressive, eating slows down and they begin to lose weight, they may have swallowing issues or do not like the texture of foods. They get sun-downers, which about 4 pm they become fidgety and more confused.
Stage #7 Very severe cognitive decline is the final stage. They have a hard time understanding anything that’s going on around them, they sometimes become non verbal, they can no longer walk, become bedridden, they may not want any food and if they do it’s only things like pudding, jello, soup or thickened drinks so they don’t aspirate and they will usually have to be fed. At this stage you will want Hospice care….to help keep them clean, turn them every couple hours, if they’re In pain, they bring medications for comfort. The last sense they lose is hearing. Tell the individual you love them, hold their hand or lie beside them as they transition to the next level.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DEMENTIA which are more about the specific disease
ALZHEIMER’S Disease is the most common form with 60 to 80% of the cases. Not being able to recall recent conversations, recall the name of a familiar object, not remembering someone visiting them, showing poor judgement…while not uncommon as someone ages, they become more concerning when these begin occurring much more frequently.
VASCULAR Dementia in the early stage of this disease it slightly resembles Alzheimer’s. Instead of the primary signs of memory loss it shows more in the area of planning, decision making and following steps. Just an overall slower speed of thought and focusing. Usually an increase of anxiety, depression and mood swings. Following a stroke, their may also be physical symptoms such as speech, vision and weakness in limbs.
LBD – LEWY BODIES Dementia can also look like Alzheimer’s in its early stage, but there are key differences. When they are in the early stage, their attention can vary from day to day, even moment to moment. They may have visual hallucinations that they can describe In detail to you. Parkinson’s type motor skills are also seen in people with LBD. They may have tremors, slowness,stiffness.
FRONTOTEMPORAL Dementia doesn’t show memory or cognitive symptoms in the early stage. This type of dementia shows more behavioral and emotional issues. They can become very selfish, apathetic and over eating may be a problem. They may act inappropriate in social places, act impulsively and have no manners. Semantic dementia affects the ability to remember names and understand language.
MIXED Dementia is a combination of two or more types. Forty five percent of those with dementia can have signs of both Alzheimer’s and Vascular disease.
CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB disease is a common cause of dementia. It is one of the rarest kinds. One in 1 million are diagnosed per year. The symptoms are the same as other dementia’s but the person has muscle stiffness and twitching. It progresses much faster and usually the person dies within a year of being diagnosed.
NORMAL PRESSURE HYDROCEPHALUS Dementia is another rare type, about 5% of people get this. It’s caused by excess fluid build up In the brains ventricles, which causes damage and leads to this Kind of dementia. Most Individuals that get this are over 65 and the symptoms are forgetfulness, difficulty walking, loss of bladder control and memory loss.
HUNTINGTONS Disease often leads to dementia, caused by a defective gene which cause the brains nerve cells to break down early. Symptoms often include difficulty thinking and reasoning as well as learning new things. Their impairment becomes effected and swallowing becomes difficult.
Alzheimer’s is not reversible….it is degenerative and incurable at this time. No blood test, brain scan or physical exam can definitely diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. And because there are so many conditions that can produce symptoms resembling Alzheimer’s, reaching the correct diagnoses is complicated. Sometimes it’s just a guess until things progress. The life expectancy after being diagnosed is about 8 to 12 years. The best approach to any dementia is education, communication, engagement, support and loving care. Learn everything you can, seek support groups and set up a care plan. Get your loved ones affairs In order. Seek an elder attorney and have your loved one appoint a power of attorney.
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