Is Dementia Progressive? Unlocking the Truth

is dementia progressive

Is dementia progressive? The short answer is ‘yes’. All types of dementia are progressive.

The signs and symptoms may be mild at first, but they do worsen over time.

Each person with dementia is unique so the speed in which their dementia progresses will vary to those of other people and their experiences as the disease progresses will be very individual too.

At present, dementia is always progressive, but scientists the world over are currently searching for ways to prevent the disease and to slow its progression.

The solutions to both of these are urgent as the number of people with dementia steadily rises.

‘Life expectancy with dementia is increasing year on year as scientists and doctors find better ways to manage the disease. However, because of the nature of its progression dementia is known as a ‘life limiting’ illness’. Source

Why is dementia progressive? In this article we explain why, and we offer suggestions on how to help slow the progression of the disease.

What causes dementia?

Is Dementia Progressive, Or Can It Be Halted

‘Dementia’ is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of medical conditions that affect the brain including Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Frontotemporal dementia.

When a person is in the early stages of dementia only a small part of their brain is damaged, and they may have only a few minor symptoms. As the disease spreads to more parts of the brain, it is unable to work as well and the areas that have already been damaged become worse.

The patient’s early symptoms may get worse and new symptoms appear affecting not only their cognitive ability and memory, but also speech, behavior and mobility.

How is the progression of dementia measured?

Very severe cognitive declineMany doctors refer to three stages of dementia – early, middle and late or mild, moderate and severe. Those specializing in dementia have divided the progression of the disease into seven different stages to help the loved ones of the dementia patient to understand how the dementia will progress.

These seven stages are important to understand, especially as the dementia patient has no control over them.

Because each person is unique, how the dementia progresses and how quickly it does, will vary. It is also important to be aware of the first signs of dementia so that action can be taken early on to get the condition diagnosed.

The 7 progressive stages of dementia

1. Normal behavior

caring for someone with progressive dementiaIn the earliest stages of the disease, many people have no symptoms even though there are changes taking place in their brain. It may well be several years before they display signs and symptoms of the disease.

2. Becoming forgetful

Whilst many older people occasional forget diary dates or where they have left their reading glasses, when a person has dementia, they will begin to forget things very easily and regularly lose things in their home.

At this stage, many people believe this is still just a sign of getting older and is an age-related problem.

3. A noticeable mild cognitive decline

This stage of the disease can often last 5-7 times and during this time the first signs that things may not be alright begin to appear.

The person’s memory loss seems more than age-related deterioration and they seem to be frequently forgetting many things – even important appointments on the calendar.

4. Moderate and very noticeable cognitive decline

It is at this stage that most people with dementia are diagnosed. The signs and symptoms by now are apparent to both family members and friends.

The person with dementia may have problem remembering to eat meals or to pay bills on time and everyday life is becoming challenging.

5. Moderately severe cognitive decline.

Severe cognitive declineAs the disease progresses and your loved one reaches this stage it is viewed as the beginning of the later stage of dementia.

Your loved one can probably no longer wash or dress themselves easily.

They will struggle to remember things like their telephone number but will remember events from their childhood very clearly.

They will still recognize family members and friends at this stage, which usually lasts 1.5 – 2 years.

6. Severe cognitive decline

This is the beginning of the final stages of dementia and your loved one will require round-the-clock attention.

They will definitely need help washing and getting dressed but could be incontinent too.

They will get easily disorientated and can suffer from mood swings becoming angry and aggressive which is extremely hard to deal with.

Dementia patients at this stage can still usually recognise their loved ones.

This stage lasts on average 2- 2.5 years. Many dementia patients pass away during this stage – usually because of other health problems.

7. Very severe cognitive decline

By this stage, the dementia patient is having problems speaking and expressing their thoughts.

They need constant assistance throughout the day especially with feeding and may well need support during the night if they cannot sleep or start to wander.

Many dementia patients at this stage are being supported by professional carers.

A free booklet about the seven stages of dementia and how you can support your loved one at each stage can be downloaded using the above link.

Are there ways to halt the progression of dementia?

  • Slow progression of dementiaMedications can be used to temporarily improve the symptoms of dementia.
  • Adapt your home so that your loved one can remain as mobile and independent as possible for as long as possible.
  • Regular exercise including walking, swimming, cycling and gardening have all been proven to help dementia patients to keep their balance and mobility. If you prefer there are a variety of different exercises to do to maintain balance and flexibility.
  • Encourage activities such as dancing, painting and singing as these will help you loved one to stay engaged.
  • Establish a good daily routine as this will help your loved one to feel secure and less anxious. Have mealtimes at the same time each day and if you enjoy a walk together, make this at the same time each day too.
  • Increase your conversations with your loved one. This can be challenging but make your sentences short, direct and easy to understand. Encourage them to talk too but never argue or get cross if their memories are inaccurate – it is not their fault.
  • Make a calendar for your loved one to help them remember up and coming events. Complete a daily journal each evening to help them to recall what has happened during the day.

There are many other ways to keep your loved one engaged so that they enjoy the best quality of life.

These include music therapy, caring for a pet and aromatherapy as the senses of touch and smell are heightened as dementia progresses.

How to cope when you are caring for someone with progressive dementia.

Is dementia progressive for everyoneHaving a loved one with dementia takes its toll on everyone in the family, especially the main carer. If that is you, it is important you look after yourself too.

The first step is to learn as much as you can about dementia and its progression.

If you have questions, don’t be scared to ask them of your doctor, social workers and other healthcare professionals.

Find out what support services there are in your community and if there is a local support group.

Do these include respite care in case you become ill or exhausted? If there are not community services available, ask family members or friends for help to give you a regular break.

Take good care of yourself as well as your loved one – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Is dementia progressive? Final Thoughts

Dementia is indeed a progressive illness. It tends to worsen over time, increasingly impacting a person’s cognitive abilities, memory, behavior, and overall functioning.

The rate of progression varies among people, being dependent on the specific type of dementia they have.

Generally, with all types of dementia, the symptoms will become more severe as the disease advances. As dementia progresses, people may experience increasing difficulty with everyday tasks, speaking, and with memory.

It’s important for those with dementia, their caregivers and family, to understand why is dementia progressive and the progressive nature of the disease.  Accordingly, they should seek appropriate support to help manage the effects at each stage of the disease.

6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia 

6 early warning signs of dementia

Let’s talk about the 6 early warning signs of dementia.

Feeling tired, stressed, lethargic?

You would have all the symptoms of dementia, but do you really have dementia?

Tiredness and stress, may simply be due to late nights, low blood sugar, heavy work load, or any number of things. There are a number of signs that are not real dementia.

The worst thing you could do is give your spouse or partner the wrong diagnosis.

Another trap is the belief you have dementia, but not actually have it. You may have a well-meaning spouse who self-diagnoses you with dementia. He/she then gets into the habit of reminding you when you are forgetful and corrects you when you make a mistake. You then start to think and feel that you actually have early dementia.

It doesn’t mean you have dementia if these symptoms happen occasionally.

early warning signs of dementia

What is dementia?

A mental decline. When certain parts of your brain are shrinking, specifically a structure called the hippocampus.

6 Early Warning Signs of Dementia

1.Poor organization

People with early dementia may have problems with familiar everyday organization tasks. They may get confused with the order of things or with making plans.

2. Personality changes

Having unexpected mood swings where a person switches between emotions for no apparent reason may indicate an early sign of dementia. For no real reason, they may seem different from his/her usual self. They may become irritable, depressed, anxious, agitated, or apathetic.


Our gut is like a second brain. There is a connection between our gut and our brain. The microbiome (bacteria) in our gut makes neurotransmitters. They also make more serotonin than our brain makes serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser that regulates wellbeing and happiness.

We have more nerve fibers in our digestive system than we do in our spinal column.

Many cognitive problems can stem from our gut. People who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease have much higher instance of constipation than someone who doesn’t have these diseases.

However, it is important to note that if you have constipation, it doesn’t mean you have dementia. It is just an early sign.

4.Sensory Dysfunction.

unable to focus

This could include issues with your smell, taste, hearing, eyesight and even your appetite. These could be early signs of cognitive decline. As sensory decline becomes more apparent, then the ability to focus, concentrate and overall memory is really what shows up to be a problem.

5.Language Problems

Struggling to find words for certain things, tending to repeat saying the same things over and over again, or mixing up words are all early indicators of dementia.

For example, a person may be able to talk and make sentences, but is incoherent. What they are saying does not make sense. Words come out randomly and all over the place.  This can be extremely frustrating for the person trying to communicate. Language problems are a result of a shrinking hippocampus.

6.Problems Navigating

Dementia Patient Getting Confused and Lost

Problems navigating are apparent when you are trying to locate a place in a new area. You get confused and can’t work out where you are.

In our brain we have a GPS which allows us to locate where we are in space. When this area of the brain goes down, we lose this GPS. So, our internal map becomes non-functional, resulting in not being able to find out where you are.

Final Comments

Now that you are aware of what the early warning signs of dementia are, the next step is to know how to prevent the onset of dementia. We have published an article with 7 easy things you can do to prevent cognitive decline.

Viewing Dr. Eric Berg DC channel guided much of the content for this article. Dr. Berg specializes in Intermittent Fasting and Healthy Ketosis.


Driving and Dementia (All You Need To Know)

driving and dementia

It is crucial for all of us to understand the close connection between driving and dementia and how to act accordingly to avoid inconvenience.

We experienced many UNPLEASANT situations, thus want to share this guide with you.

A positive dementia diagnosis usually comes with a myriad of concerns for the affected individual.

Among them include the ability of a person to drive safely.

How Does Dementia Affect Driving?

You will notice that many people who have dementia can no longer drive, especially if the disease has progressed to the later stages.

This can be very upsetting, particularly to the persons who feel like driving defines freedom and autonomy.

In addition to memory loss that is synonymous with dementia, other causes can also affect a person’s driving ability.

These include medical conditions that a person with dementia might be suffering from. The most common in seniors are hearing and vision problems.

Arthritis can also affect head-turning.

A fraction of older people with dementia have weaker muscles, which makes physical tasks like braking or steering rather difficult.

Medications, a person is taking, can also contribute to driving problems. Various depression drugs, as well as night sedatives, may affect how a person drives.

Individuals with dementia and their caregivers can benefit from our guidelines that can offer helpful pointers on the whole driving and dementia issue.

Read on to uncover important information about driving for people with dementia.

When Does a Person Become a Traffic Risk?

when does a person become a traffic risk
In some cases, though not all, a dementia diagnosis does not mean that a person immediately loses their driving skills.

Some people, particularly in the early stages of the disease, can go about their driving business without any complications.

However, due to the nature of the illness, everyone HAS TO STOP driving eventually.

This is because the disease becomes worse over time, which means that symptoms like a decrease in cognitive functioning, memory loss, and visual-spatial disorientation become more pronounced.

Some individuals will stop driving voluntarily after identifying the risks involved. Others may need intervention from relatives and caregivers.

Because everyone experiences the illness differently, it is not easy to pinpoint the right time a person should no longer be on the road as a driver.

As a general rule, persons with mild or early dementia should undergo an evaluation to know if they can continue driving.

Those who have moderate or severe dementia SHOULD keep off the wheel.

It may also help if the affected individuals and those around them are keen on the developing symptoms to make the decision at the right time.

Going For Independent Driving Evaluation

going for independent driving evaluation
Independent driving evaluations are some of the safest options to determine a person’s driving capability.

These are usually available through State Departments of Motor Vehicles or driver rehabilitation programs.

Remember to inform the examiners that the individual going through evaluation has dementia. These individuals usually sit for a behind-the-wheel driver re-examination.

This will determine whether the candidate will RETAIN their driving license or whether it will be revoked.

Because dementia is a progressive disease, it is recommended that drivers with dementia go through the evaluation often say after every six months or so.

If anyone FAILS the test, they must discontinue driving instantly.

Signs That Indicate It Is No Longer Safe to Drive

signs that indicate it is no longer safe to drive
A person’s behavior outside their car can tell if they can drive properly or not.

Some of the signs that a person may show signifying that they will not be good drivers include:

  • Has a hard time multitasking
  • Has a problem judging space and distance
  • Becomes less coordinated
  • Feels disoriented or gets lost in familiar environments
  • Is not as alert to things that are happening around them
  • Memory loss specifically for recent events increases
  • Has a hard time processing information
  • Has challenges with problem-solving and decision-making
  • Becomes more irritable, confused, and has mood swings
  • Needs prompting when it comes to personal care, etc.

It is advisable to compare previous behavior (before dementia onset) to current behavior to get an accurate picture of the transformation a person is going through.

Behavioral changes are usually noticeable to people who closely interact with the person with dementia over time.

The observations can then be shared with other friends, family members, and health care professionals.

Checking Driving Behaviors

checking driving behaviors
If the person with dementia gets the green light to continue driving, friends and family must continue to monitor their driving.

An individual’s driving skills can decrease in a short period. Observing driving conduct is crucial because it allows early problem detection before it becomes a crisis.

Some of the warning signs may consist of:

  • Ignoring traffic lights or confusion over road rules, colors, and words
  • Driving too slowly
  • Hitting curbs
  • Stopping in the middle of the road for no reason
  • Having challenges with highway exits, turns, or lane changes
  • Lacking good judgment
  • Driving at inappropriate speeds
  • Getting lost on familiar routes
  • Driving on the wrong streets
  • Drifting into other lanes unintentionally
  • Getting drowsy or falling asleep while driving
  • Confusing gas and brake pedals
  • Refusing to strap on seat belts
  • Parking at the wrong places
  • Coming back from routines drives later than usual
  • Getting tickets often for multiple violations
  • Having accidents or too many “near-misses”
  • Easily distractibility by road signs, pedestrians, or pets they may see while driving
  • Refusing to drive with other people in the car
  • Becomes irritated or nervous when driving, etc.

What To Do To Improve Driving Skills

what can be done to improve driving skills
Unfortunately, because of the declining nature of dementia, there is nothing that can be done to enhance driving skills.

As the disease becomes worse, many people become a hazard on the road. This implies that caregivers and doctors must take charge.

The affected individuals, doctors, and persons offering care must also familiarize themselves with the laws that govern driving and dementia.

In some locations, doctors must report any medical conditions that may get in the way of a person’s driving ability.

Getting “Difficult Persons” To Stop Driving

getting difficult persons to stop driving
Blood relatives and caregivers may, at times, be faced with a situation where an individual with dementia blatantly refuses to stop driving even when it is dangerous.

This is because most of them feel as though they lose a great deal of independence if they cannot drive themselves around.

Such circumstances call for a lot of wisdom when dealing with this aspect of driving and dementia.

The persons dealing with the topic can start by calmly and sympathetically talking to the affected individual, letting them know why driving is not a good idea.

Remember that the talks should be given out in small doses to give the affected individual time to process what lays ahead.

Be ready to listen and encourage the person to talk freely about how the changes make them feel.

Mention the positives, not the negatives

Stressing about the positives of quitting driving might drive the point home.

Try and appeal to the individual’s sense of responsibility all the time, reaffirming support and unconditional love.

Alternative transportation must also be offered so that the ill individual does not feel like they will not have the freedom of movement anymore.

If the people around cannot come up with a solution, it may be time to join a support group.

These offer a GREAT platform for caregivers and persons with dementia to talk to other individuals who are in a similar situation.

Seek help if necessary

They act as an excellent resource center to get tips on how to get the person to stop driving.

Experts believe that people will adjust better if they are involved in the discussions and decisions on when they should retire when it comes to driving.

Care managers and physicians might also help a person make the right timely decision. The professionals can tactfully bring up the driving topic during health visits.

A financial planner or lawyer may also step in to DISCUSS driving as part of the ill person’s financial and legal planning.

Affected persons may respond better to the experts as compared to their relatives or friends.

It can also help if family members and caregivers can come up with ways that reduce the need of the person with dementia to drive all the time.

It can be things like having prescriptions, groceries, and meals delivered at home.

Beauticians and barbers can be contracted to make home visits. Loved ones can visit often so that the person does not feel the need to go out and look for them.

Friends and family can also organize to take the person on social outings.

Slowly limit their driving

Where possible, it is usually best to start early rather than bombard a person to stop driving immediately.

For instance, during the onset of the middle stages of the disease, caregivers can work with an individual to introduce the concept of limiting their driving.

During these times, there are a few beneficial tips the dementia drivers can work with like:

  • Avoiding driving in bad weather and at night
  • Driving on familiar roads only
  • Avoiding long-distance drives
  • Escaping roads that have huge traffic amounts

Asking the person to co-pilot might also make the transition from driver to passenger a little easier.

When all else fails, caregivers may be forced to take drastic measures to ensure that the individual who has dementia does not go driving when they are not supposed to.

Some of the methods that can keep weak people from accessing their cars include:

  • Hiding car keys or replacing them with a set that will not start the car
  • Ensuring the car is out of sight
  • Disabling the car by removing the battery cable so that it will not start. A mechanic can also install a “kill switch” that the driver must engage in before starting the car.
  • Selling the vehicle

Alternate Transport Solutions

when does a person become a traffic risk
When tackling the topic of driving and dementia, it is important to table alternative transport options for individuals who can no longer drive.

These help individuals to continue living active lives with minimal restrictions on their mobility. Common transport options are:

Public Transportation

This comes in handy, especially in the early stages of the disease. This is where a person can get familiar with the transportation system in their area so that they get by without too many problems.

The option may not work for people who are in the last stages of the disease. This is because they may not be in a position to figure out how to get to the trains or buses or even their schedules and routes.

Senior Transportation Services

Some organizations offer exclusive transportation services for people who have special needs. A quick online search can help you identify some of the companies that extend these services.

Compare a few to settle on the ones you feel will meet the transport needs of the person with dementia.


Just like public transportation, this may be a solution for people who are in the middle or early stages of the disease and preferably do not have any extreme behavioral issues.

Families can choose to set a payment account with a specific company so that the affected individual does not have to deal with taxi bills.

It is also a good option if someone accompanies the person with dementia to the taxi and has another person waiting for them at the destination.

Friends and Family

Family members, neighbors, and friends can offer to drive the person to their appointments and social engagements.

To avoid overburdening one person, make a list of the people willing to provide transportation alongside their contacts and availability.

Driving and Dementia Closing Thoughts

Car accidents are the leading cause of death-related injuries in persons between ages 65-74, according to various studies.

They are also the 2nd commonest cause of death for people who are above the age of 85 after falls.

Experts reveal that the risk of getting into an auto accident doubles for persons who have dementia.

It is, therefore, important to do due diligence when caring for a person with the illness so that they do not go out there driving putting their lives and those of other road users in danger.

Always keep in mind that driving ability spans many cognitive domains, and requires executive function, visuospatial skills, motor skills, attention, and memory.

Mixed Dementia – What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

mixed dementia

We studied and conducted a complete overview of self-explanatory mixed dementia.

People who have dementia may experience changes that represent TWO OR MORE types of dementia occurring simultaneously in the brain.

This disorder is quite complex.

There are several combinations possible which can be a mixture of one, two or even more of the types of dementia below:

The most common cases are usually a combination between blood vessel abnormalities commonly linked with vascular dementia and protein deposits usually seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

It is believed that about 10% of people with dementia also have the illness.

Scientists, however, reveal that this number could be HIGHER.

The illness may occur in different stages. These are important when it comes to guiding caregivers and physicians on how to best take care of people with this kind of dementia.

Below are seven common stages of mixed dementia.

7 Stages Of Mixed Dementia

1. No impairment

mixed dementia stages
This is where an individual can go about their business and life independently.

During this stage, there are no outward clear signs of the illness. At this stage, it is more or less if someone else suggests testing ourselves for (mixed) dementia or we read it in an article – like this one.

Since dementia starts developing years and years in advance, anyone at the age of around fifty should test themselves.

Sometimes even earlier.

2. Very Mild

very mild
The signs and symptoms at this stage also hardly manifest. Generally, there may appear normal forgetfulness signs that are associated with aging.

For instance, a person may struggle to remember the name of a loved one, but finally, figure it out after some time.

If these events start to repeat, become almost annoying, the individual should visit the doctor.

3. Mild

During this point, the symptoms remain barely noticeable. A person may go on their daily lives without too much interruption.

Some people may, however, showcase symptoms such as repetition, slight memory loss, loss of concentration and difficulties managing finances such as balancing checkbooks.

Again if the person is doing the same mistakes again and again or forgetting the name of the same person, seeing the doctor is almost crucial.

4. Moderate

mixed dementia
It becomes clear at this stage that many people cannot complete routine tasks without some form of assistance.

This can be SIMPLE THINGS such as preparing meals, using the phone, changing television programs and completing laundry.

Some people also start to withdraw socially, experience incontinence and have trouble finding the right phrases or words.

5. Moderately Severe

moderately severe
During these final stages, people with this kind of dementia need help to go about their day to day lives.

Some symptoms may include an increase in memory loss, confusion regarding events, and current location.

Also, the need for a helping hand when picking appropriate clothing and tying shoelaces.

6. Severe

The disease becomes worse at this stage and individuals can no longer perform duties on their own.

They may need a helping hand with a majority of their day-to-day activities including when dressing, going to the toilet, eating, walking, and sleeping.

At this time, a caregiver is almost a necessity.

7. Very Severe

very severe
The final stage is associated with signs like LOSS of muscle control, hard times with language ability, no control over urination, and losing awareness of the surroundings.

With this type of dementia, hence the name, several different symptoms and signs may occur from several other different dementias.

Mixed Dementia Symptoms

Worth noting is that a diagnosis of mixed dementia is quite difficult.

Most people with the illness do not know that they have it because the many brain changes it involves are hard to detect.

Instead, persons are usually diagnosed with the kind of dementia that best suits the symptoms they have.

Many are the times when the disease is only seen during an autopsy rather than during life.

Depending on the dementia combination that a person has, the symptoms may vary widely.

Primarily, the symptoms are similar to those of a specific type of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people’s symptoms may be a clear indication of the existence of multiple kinds of dementia. These may include:

Learning Difficulties

learning difficulties
Trouble remembering newly acquired information is one of the earliest signs that people with dementia have.

You can teach a person something new today and if asked about it tomorrow, they may not know what you are talking about.

The reason for this is that dementia characteristically affects the section of the brain that is responsible for learning.

As a person grows older and the disease becomes worse, they may report more severe symptoms.

These can include disorientation, changes in behavior/mood, worsening confusion of places, time, and event, and becoming suspicious of friends, family members, or the caregivers who spend quality time with the individual with this type of dementia.

Loss of Memory

loss of memory
Everyone with dementia at one point experiences difficulties with memory. It usually starts off light something that does not bother many.

Trouble sets in when the loss of memory begins to interfere with a person’s ability to perform their normal daily tasks.

Signs of this may include the increasing need to rely on aids such as reminder notes or electronic devices to remember stuff.

Some people will even forget the most important dates of their lives like their birthdays, children’s/ partner’s birthdates, doctor’s appointments, and so on.

Many people with dementia also get into the habit of asking for the same details repeatedly.

Additionally, they may also lose things frequently and leave valuable items in unusual places.

Poor Judgement

poor judgement
People with mixed dementia may have a difficult time making the right call whenever necessary.

For instance, you may find that an individual does not have control over their money.

They may become over generous giving up huge chunks of money to telemarketers and other organizations.

Such people are usually vulnerable and they need a trustworthy person to guide them since they can easily fall into the hands of conmen.

As the disease, progresses, people with the illness may start to pay less attention to their bodies ignoring basic hygiene practices like brushing teeth, taking a shower, and putting on clean clothes, etc. Grooming becomes the last thing on their minds.

Mixed Dementia Treatment

To date, treatment for mixed dementia remains a challenge for medical practitioners.

However, there is a ray of hope for people with the illness because scientific studies show that it responds well to treatment options like:

Practicing Life-Long Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

practicing- ife-long heart healthy lifestyle
Although this is not a treatment option per say, leading a healthy lifestyle can help delay or prevent the advancement of symptoms as the person with dementia grows older.

When talking about a healthy lifestyle, it means eating right.

This is where you get at least 3 or 4 healthy balanced meals. Avoid processed foods and too much sugar.

People with this type of dementia should also drink loads of plain water, stop smoking, cease drinking alcohol, and take part in exercise even when it is not too strenuous to get the heart beating as it should.

It also involves honoring doctor’s appointments so that a professional can check you out and give any advice necessary.

Different Types of Therapy

different types of therapy
Some people with mixed dementia can benefit from various therapies.

These may include:

This is where the people with the illness take part in specific activities that help to stimulate thinking skills and how they interact with other people.

Most of the time these are usually group-based.

Facilitators often include games and music to make it more enjoyable.

Therapy can also assist with any movement issues to improve the overall quality and function of life.

It is best to have these done by a certified professional to avoid making things worse.

This is because it is not an easy task and caregivers need to be trained well on what to expect.


Worth noting is that there is no medicine yet, for a person with a combination of two or more kinds of dementia.

Doctors may, however, prescribe various medicines in a bid to treat other underlying conditions that can cause damage to an individual’s blood vessels.

These include diseases like heart problems, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Controlling these risk factors is vital because it may protect the brain from harmful vascular changes.

Some drugs can also help with a variety of symptoms.

This is where a person takes medicine to relieve symptoms such as aggression, agitation, and anxiety.

Before giving the go-ahead to take any medicine, the doctor has to assess the person’s environment and health.

Palliative Care

palliative care
Many people with mixed dementia end up in palliative care especially during the final stages of the disease.

This is the type of care that is accorded to people who have serious illnesses.

This can be done at home or in a health institution. It is quite different from the care that people receive when they are in the process of curing an illness.

The primary goal of this type of care is to enhance a person’s life quality focusing on the whole being i.e. mind, body, and soul.

Caregivers usually help persons under their care to become more independent while managing their daily lives.

They can also offer counseling and support when an individual needs these to help them feel better.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to advancements in the medical field, there are chances that as research continues to grow, mixed dementia will progressively be diagnosed and treated during life.

Experts are also coming up with new clinical trials for individuals to try and introduce new methods that will most likely manage, prevent, treat, or detect this type of dementia.

Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

late onset alzheimer's disease

It is known that late onset Alzheimer’s disease is the most common one in older adults.

But first, let’s take a look at the bigger picture, causes, factors, symptoms and treatments of Alzheimer’s disease.

Different people develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at different stages in their lives. For some, a positive diagnosis happens before they turn 65 years, which is mostly in their 40s or 50s.

This is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Others, on the other hand, will get the disease when they are 65 years or older. This is known as late onset Alzheimer’s, and it is the most common form of the illness responsible for about 90% of Alzheimer’s cases.

The irreversible disease is a leading cause of death in seniors behind heart disease and cancer.

Let’s explore this illness in detail below.

Causes of Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

causes of late onset alzheimers disease
To date, scientists and other parties involved have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of this illness.

The question of why some individuals get it and others do not remain a mystery.

Researchers have not yet identified a particular gene that is behind the development of Alzheimer’s.

While some say that Alzheimer’s is hereditary, the fact cannot be substantiated because it may or may not run in the family.

There are instances where both parents may get the illness and their child does not end up getting it.

What factors are behind the development of the disease?

the stages of late onset Alzheimer’s
Experts agree that Alzheimer’s is likely not the result of a single cause, but a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors.

For instance, a mutation of the ApoE gene is believed to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s after hitting 65 years.

Conversely, it is not the cause of the illness. The National Institutes of Health states that ApoE is responsible for how cholesterol moves in the blood.

Some studies suggest that individuals who have high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Recent research also suggests that viral and bacterial infections play a significant role in the development of the illness.

Because of ongoing research, scientists are positive that soon they will be able to come up with a detailed explanation of the multiple Alzheimer’s causes so that people can have a better understanding of this disease.

Symptoms of Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

symptoms of late onset alzheimers disease
AD affects people in different ways.

The most common symptom pattern, however, usually starts with continuing challenges in remembering new information.

This happens because the neurological disorder affects the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning.

Other warning signs

Other warning signs of this disease include:

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s (late onset) typically begin to show when a person is in their mid-60s.

Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, the symptoms become worse as the neurological deterioration progresses.

During the later stages of the disease, the affected person may have to get into 24/7 care because they are not able to live independently.

Alzheimer’s disease Diagnosis

alzheimers disease diagnosis
Experts are continually working on techniques to identify the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s in a bid to offer early intervention effectively.

This, in turn, helps to delay significant impairments.

For the longest time, a thorough post-mortem microscopic brain examination was the definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

This was not helping too much because the diagnosis needs to be made when a person is alive.

What’s necessary for AD diagnosis

Nowadays, experts can diagnose AD with over 95% accuracy in living humans.

A combination of tools come into play including:

  • A person’s medical history plus that of their families
  • Neuropsychologic tests to assess cognitive function
  • Multiple laboratory tests: medics usually conduct this to identify secondary causes of the illness such as medical conditions that are common with golden-agers. These might include blood count, glucose levels, serum electrolytes, Vitamin B12 Hepatic function panels, creatinine ration, and so forth.
  • Neuroimaging: this helps to table appropriate details on brain structures to help exclude treatable conditions

The list above is not exhaustive but covers the most essential AD diagnosis tools.

Because people experience the illness differently, a doctor may prescribe more tests to conduct the diagnosis comprehensively.

In regards to diagnosis for late onset Alzheimer’s, it is important to note that misdiagnosis is bound to happen in some cases.

This is because the illness shares symptoms with other medical disorders. It is the reason it is crucial to get a proper diagnosis to manage the disease better.

Treatment for Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease

treatment for late onset alzheimers disease
Despite ongoing research and studies, experts have not come up with a cure for AD. This does not mean that a positive diagnosis implies suffering and immediate death.

People who have this illness can live up to 8 years or more after the development of the disease. A couple of factors can affect longevity such as:

1. Gender

Many studies suggest that women live longer than men after Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

2. Brain abnormalities

Persons who have a combination of Alzheimer’s, brain, and spinal cord issues tend to die faster than those who do not have all these medical conditions.

The same applies to other health problems where individuals with diabetes or heart attacks have shorter lifespans than people who do not have other complicating health factors.

3. The severity of symptoms

Persons who have severe motor impairment like tendencies to get lost or wander and falls tend to have shorter life experiences.

Several coping mechanisms are put in place to help individuals with the disease live fuller, more independent, and satisfying lives for the longest possible time like:

Use of Medication

use of medication
Certain medicines are available to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s temporarily such as:

AChE inhibitors

Acetylcholinesterase are drugs that help to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. This is a substance that helps to improve communication between nerve cells.

Only specialists like neurologists or psychiatrists can prescribe the drugs.

A general GP can also do it but it has to be under the direction of the specialists.

Most recent guidelines recommend that the people who should take the medicines are the ones in the middle or severe stages of the illness.

Persons on these medications need to be aware of some side effects they may experience.

The most common ones include loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. For most people, side effects get better after some time of taking the medication.


This is a drug that has been designed to block the effects of excess glutamate a chemical in the brain. Persons can use this for moderate and severe Alzheimer’s.

It comes in handy for individuals who cannot tolerate AChE inhibitors.

Additionally, people who are on AChE inhibitors can also take the drugs. The known side effects of these medications include temporary constipation, headaches, and dizziness.

To get more fine points about the side effects, consult a professional or doctor for an individual consultancy.

Physicians might also prescribe other medicines like antidepressants that can help deal with behavioral changes.


Treatment can also involve different types of therapies that are beneficial when caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. These can include:

Cognitive rehabilitation

This is where the ill person works closely with an occupational therapist or any other professional to achieve a personal goal.

This can be anything from learning how to use a phone, computer, or completing a daily task.

This rehabilitation aims at getting the parts of the brain that are working to assist the ones that are not functioning as they should.


This involves talking about events and things from a person’s past.

The use of props such as music, photos, and other possessions, can make this exercise more productive.

You can combine this with life story works that involve a collection of notes, photographs, and keepsakes from the suffering individual’s childhood through old age.

Studies show that these are effective when coping with late onset Alzheimer’s because it helps to enhance good mood and wellbeing.

Preventing Late Onset Alzheimer’s

preventing late onset alzheimers
Similar to the cure situation of Alzheimer’s, there is still no sure way of preventing the development of the disease.

Experts continue to conduct multiple studies on preventive measures, but the results are usually inconsistent.

However, several lifestyle factors might help to reduce the risk of the illness, such as:


Studies suggest that earing right might help keep the disease away.

You should purpose to always indulge in a balanced diet that mainly constitutes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Physical Movement

Evidence puts forward the benefits of exercise for the brain, which may help reduce the risk of suffering from progressive disease.

Intellectual activities

Research suggests that exercising the brain through activities like writing, reading, playing games, and doing puzzles help stimulate the brain health.

Anyone who has Alzheimer’s must consult a healthcare professional first before making any key lifestyle change to be on the safe side.

Closing Remarks

More elderly people are getting a positive diagnosis of late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Management of the illness is quite complex because there is no cure.

There is a need for a comprehensive care approach that not only focuses on the person with the disease but caregivers as well.

Early diagnosis is beneficial because affected individuals can then work closely with their relatives and doctors to lead fuller and more gratifying lives.

Sadly, it may reach a point where persons with Alzheimer’s may need to move to care facilities or have professional caregivers at their beck and call at home.

7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

stages of alzheimer's disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) experience the illness differently but research shows that affected individuals tend to go through similar stages of Alzheimer’s from the beginning to the end.

The categorization of the illness is useful when it comes to understanding what to expect to plan for appropriate care and treatment through each stage.

What Are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Some professionals use a simple 3-phrase model (early, moderate, and end) while others will use a more comprehensive breakdown that explains the progression of the disease.

The most common system breaks down the progression of Alzheimer’s into 7 stages.

It was developed by Dr, Barry Reisberg from New York University.

Below we will incorporate both systems discussing the three main stages of the disease and its seven sub-stages.


pre-diagnosis for alzheimer's disease
Also known as preclinical Alzheimer’s, these are the stages of Alzheimer’s that a person goes through before there is an “official” diagnosis of the progressive illness.

Note that changes in the brain usually start years before an individual can showcase any warning signs of the illness.

In the beginning, most people will not have a clue that they have the disease because the symptoms they may experience are usually associated with growing older.

People will continue to function independently at this stage.

There is currently no treatment for the pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s.

Experts are, however, hoping that in the future, there will be a medication that can halt the progression before people start showcasing symptoms to prevent the illness.

Let’s take a closer look at what affected persons may experience during the three pre-diagnosis stages.

Stage1: No Cognitive Decline

In the early stage of the progressive illness, most people will not showcase any subjective or objective cognition symptoms or functional decline.

They are also free from any mood or behavioral changes and have what is considered to be normal outward behavior.

Individuals at this stage can be referred to as mentally healthy persons. Alzheimer’s disease at this stage cannot be detected.

Stage 2: Basic Cognitive Decline

The 2nd Alzheimer’s stage is primarily characteristic of forgetfulness that occurs with normal aging.

A majority of people who are over 65 years will experience typical forgetfulness.

Alzheimer’s usually affects people who are above the age of 65. Elderly persons may no longer recall names as they would when they were younger.

Some may forget where they had placed their purse, keys, glasses, or other things around the house.

Many people in this stage will perform well on memory tests be able to go on working, drive, and be social.

The symptoms are normally not noticed by the individual, their family, or physicians.

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline

Certain symptoms are common in the 3rd stages of Alzheimer’s.

For instance, a person with mild cognitive decline may find it hard to concentrate or focus on something.

Most people will also experience increased forgetfulness. If an individual is working, their performance at the workplace may be compromised.

People who stay at home may experience decreased performance in household chores like cleaning or even staying updated with paying bills.

Learning a new skill at this point becomes difficult. People may get lost in familiar places and they can find it challenging to find the correct words to speak when having a conversation.

Someone with stage 3 Alzheimer’s may frequently lose their possessions including prized items.

In this stage, a person’s family may begin to notice the changes that are happening in their loved one’s life.

The affected person may not do too well on memory tests and doctors can detect impaired cognitive function.

This stage can last up to seven years and the symptoms may start to be clearer in 2-4 years.

A person may need professional counseling at this stage especially if they have been conducting complex job responsibilities.

Most people will experience mild to moderate denial and anxiety during the 3rd stage of AD.

It is best to consult a physician during this point so that they can come up with care planning and treatment options that will keep the symptoms at bay.

Early-Stage Alzheimer’s

stages of Alzheimer’s early-stage alzheimer's
Also known as early-onset AD, this is one of the stages of Alzheimer’s where physicians can diagnose the disease.

The professionals use a combination of medical and neurological exams as well as imaging tests to help in the diagnosis process.

A team of different doctors like neurologists, geriatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists among others can work together to help diagnose AD.

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Individuals at this stage will start to have more challenges with daily tasks. Denial of symptoms is usually more evident in this stage.

Some people will also have socialization issues where they withdraw from their relatives and friends.

This is mostly because they begin to be aware of the changes happening.

Other warning signs prominent in this stage include:

  • Having poor short-term memory
  • Decreasing awareness of recent or current events
  • Having challenges with simple arithmetic
  • Forgetting details about life history
  • Having difficulties paying bills and managing finances
  • Decreased emotional response
  • Having challenges cooking or even ordering from a menu
  • Forgetting about the season or month
  • Vision loss can also happen in some individuals. It can be as simple as having a hard time reading
  • Personality and mood changes may also occur some of the most noticeable ones being depression, confusion, fearfulness, and anxiety
  • Some individuals may also become increasingly irritated when something out of the norm happens.

This stage lasts about 2 years.

Individuals at this stage may need assistance from caregivers. Carers can lend a hand with day-to-day chores and making sure affected persons are well-fed and safe.

This includes looking out for them to ensure no one takes advantage of them financially because many affected individuals can become victims of financial scams.

Some affected adults may not be fit to drive and caregivers should ensure they do not get behind the wheel and endanger their lives and those of others.

Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s

middle-stage alzheimer's
Middle stage (mid-stage) AD consists of the fifth and sixth stages of Alzheimer’s that we will discuss below.

Stage 5: Moderate/Severe Cognitive Decline

In the 5th stage, most people with AD will have significant memory impairment.

Memory loss can either be moderate or severe.

It is usual for some people to forget major bits of details that affect their day-to-day lives such as phone numbers or home addresses.

Many people are unable to tell what time it is or where they are. It is one of the reasons many people in the 5th stage will get lost even after visiting a place they were once familiar with.

Affected individuals might require help with daily living activities like preparing meals, eating, bathing, and grooming.

Most people at this point will also have a hard time dressing.

It is common for a person to pick the wrong clothing for the season. For instance, an individual can insist on wearing summer clothes during winter.

Some individuals will start to wear the same outfit day in day out unless someone reminds them to change.

Caregivers can help out with dressing by laying out clothes for the day on a person’s bed. Depending on the level of independence, carers may have to dress up the person so that the individual with Alzheimer’s is always in proper attire.

A decline in personal hygiene habits may become more noticeable. For instance, a person may not brush their teeth or practice bathroom hygiene.

This stage can last an average of one and a half years.

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

The 6th stage of AD marks the point of the illness where many affected people will require more help with their daily tasks.

Taking a bath becomes challenging where persons cannot adjust the temperature of bathwater or handle other aspects of bathing.

Persons in this stage normally have limited memory of past and recent events.

Most will not remember the name of the school they went to or life events like their first job and the place where they were born.

Some retain details about their names but they may begin to confuse the names of people they are close to.

For example, a person may call their spouse the name of a deceased parent or use a different name to address someone they know. Most people in stage six might also start to experience incontinence of the bladder or bowel.

Speech ability may also start to diminish.

At this stage, personality changes become more pronounced. Individuals may experience different AD symptoms such as:

The ability to calculate becomes challenging where even a well-educated person may not be able to count backward from 10 to 0.

Some people may start to wander at night and sleep more during the day.

The stage can last for around two and a half years.

Caregivers at this stage can offer help with personal care from hygiene to daily tasks.

Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

late-stage alzheimer's
After going through the middle stages of Alzheimer’s persons with the disease will go through the final and last stage of the illness.

This is the 7th stage which is also known as late-stage AD. Read on to find out what affected persons can expect from this stage.

Stage7: Severest Cognitive Decline

At this stage, most people with AD lose their ability to communicate. Research shows that for most individuals, speech is limited to 6 words or fewer.

After sometime speech will decline to a single recognizable word before it is lost.

For survival, they usually require help with most daily activities including bathing, toileting, eating, and other activities around the clock.

Stage 7 is also associated with loss of psychomotor capabilities implying individuals at this stage may require help with ambulation and some might not be able to walk at all.

Affected individuals normally lose their ability to smile and instead they only have grimacing facial movements.

After a while, individuals may also lose their ability to hold their heads without support and others are not able to swallow.

Body movements tend to become more rigid which can cause severe pain to the affected persons.

Healthline reports that at least 40% of persons with AD form contractures, or hardening and shortening of tendons, muscles, and other tissues.

It is also common for adults to develop infantile reflexes such as sucking.

As cognitive and memory skills continue to become worse, individuals may require extensive care.

At some point, caregivers may have to consider support services like hospice care that will offer dignity and comfort at the end of life.

Although engagement is minimal during the end stages of Alzheimer’s persons with the disease can still benefit from interactions like a gentle reassuring touch or listening to relaxing music. This final stage normally lasts for about 2 and a half years.

Most people with AD will succumb during this stage.

Persons in this stage are usually vulnerable to developing other medical conditions that can lead to their death such as pneumonia, cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

Some individuals survive for years in this stage with proper care and life support.

Stages of Alzheimer’s Closing Remarks

It is important to learn how Alzheimer’s unfolds through various stages of Alzheimer’s.

While these stages do not always fall into neat little boxes and the symptoms may vary from one person to the next, they can be beneficial in taking care of a person with the illness.

It helps in preparing for the challenges that come next by getting the necessary medical supplies and aids like wheelchairs.

It also helps to identify care facilities like assisted living when an affected person can no longer live on their own safely.

AD is a progressive disease that gradually becomes worse over 4-20 years. However, a majority of affected persons will live for about four to eight years after diagnosis.

It is challenging for people with the disease and their loved ones to go through the stages of the illness. Knowing what to expect during these stages can help ease stress and unpredictability.

Vascular Dementia Stages and Progression

vascular dementia stages

Vascular dementia is one of the most common types of dementia, and people who have this illness often have to go through several vascular dementia stages.

It is a disease that develops when the brain cells die because they are not getting enough nutrients and oxygen.

It can happen when there are impaired tiny blood vessels in the brain or after a person has gone through a major stroke or even a series of smaller strokes.

Because the condition does not have a cure yet, it progresses from a mild case to a severe one. Note that these stages will differ from one person to the next.

This is simply because this type of dementia is typically brought about by different conditions.

One person may experience vascular dementia following a stroke.

However, another may get it after the inner parts of the brain get damaged for one reason or another. Just like other forms of dementia, vascular dementia also tends to progress in gradual stages. This, however, happens in a more step-like manner.

Check out how the illness may affect an individual over time describing what happens during the three major vascular dementia stages below.

Vascular Dementia Stages

1st Stage

first stage of vascular dementia
At the onset of vascular dementia, things are usually not too serious. Many individuals during this first stage can go about their daily lives without any interference.

This is because the symptoms are still somewhat stable; thus, manageable.

Most of the time, it is difficult to tell whether a person has vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people may even have what is known as mixed dementia, where one has both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Some people may experience things like impaired memory (general forgetfulness), challenges finding the right words, and difficulty with planning, organizing, and carrying out several tasks in an efficient manner during the first stages of this illness.

A small percentage of individuals with vascular dementia will also go through a slight decline in walking and balance. The condition at this point may also affect thinking and decision making.

At this stage, a majority of people can live alone, but it is recommended that their loved ones always check on them often.

This helps to make sure that everything is in place and that the individuals are not a danger to themselves or any other people around them.

At times, small home modifications may also come in handy to create a more supportive and comfortable environment for individuals with vascular dementia.

2nd Stage

stages of vascular dementia
After a person has gone through the initial vascular dementia stages, it may reach a point where the symptoms are no longer stable.

Things become worse where you might find that the affected person now has a different personality.

Depending on the cause of this dementia, many people will start going through anxiety, depression and have mood swings.

This usually occurs because a person is more aware of the changes that are happening to their bodies. Some people will become overly emotional and a majority are prone to apathy.

Other behavioral changes may include increased agitation and irritability.

Increased agitation and irritability

There may also be sessions where they are certain outbursts where a person can either cry or laugh inappropriately.

Hallucinations and delusions may also be part of the equation.

In severe cases, a percentage of individuals who have vascular dementia will also experience epilepsy episodes. Loss of social skills is also common at this stage.

You may find that a person who has the disease no longer wants to be a part of the social circles they were in before. They may not want to talk to the people they love.

You may notice that they want to spend more time indoors as a means of shutting out the world.

Most of the time, this usually comes about because a person is embarrassed about what they are going through seeing that they are no longer in complete control of their lives.

Several physical signs may also be prevalent during the middle stages of vascular dementia.

This is where a person may experience loss of bowel or bladder control. Some may also experience dizziness and tremors often.

Caregivers may also notice that the persons under their care are experiencing arm and leg weakness and maybe moving around with shuffling rapid steps.

Language and speech problems

If a person was speaking well in the past, slurred speech and other language problems might also start to show up.

Individuals with this illness should also get close monitoring when they are on the move. That’s because they tend to get lost even when they are in familiar surroundings.

Doing things like paying bills handling money or engaging in their favorite hobby becomes challenging, which can prove to be quite frustrating to the ill individual.

It’s not uncommon for a person with the illness to have difficulties sleeping during this phase.

Some individuals also display repetitive, obsessive or even impulsive behavior.

If a person is staying alone at this point, it would be best to make different housing arrangements.

They can move in with relatives who will act as caregivers and also keep an eye on the persons with the illness to prevent avoidable accidents.

If this is not possible, the family might have to look into senior care facilities where persons with vascular dementia will get professional care.

This is simply because a person at this point may need support with multiple day-to-day activities.

These may include showering, walking, dressing, eating, cooking, and using the restroom, among others.

3rd Stage

vascular dementia stages
You can consider this one of the final vascular dementia stages. The symptoms that persons experience at this stage are normally severe.

These can be distressing to the weak person.

If one gets vascular dementia after suffering a stroke, the aftermath can bring out physical symptoms.

They can experience problems with speech, vision, and weakness of the limbs. These symptoms will surface if the stroke caused damage to certain parts of the brain.

Individuals who have vascular dementia may also experience similar symptoms to the people who are in their last stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is where issues with communication, reasoning, confusion, memory loss, and disorientation become worse.

Motor challenges

A majority of people with vascular dementia also experience motor symptoms that may include unsteady or slow gait disturbance and clumsiness.

Handling daily activities becomes increasingly difficult, too.

Delusions or hallucinations that would come and go during the previous stage worsen.

At times, persons with vascular dementia may also become violent, suspicious, and demanding of people who are around them.

Many persons have a difficult time eating and swallowing. This often leads to rapid unhealthy weight loss. Some may even experience loss of speech.

Almost everyone at this point will have significant problems with both long-term and short-term memory.

As the condition becomes worse, it may affect/damage all the functions of the brain. This is also the stage where the illness deteriorates and can end up being fatal.

Some people at this stage can also go through heart attacks or a major stroke that can end their lives.

During this stage, it might be difficult for the family to render the appropriate care. Especially if they are not around their loved ones 24/7.

This calls for other measures such as hiring a professional who will move in to look after the person who has vascular dementia.

Alternatively, the individual might have to move into a senior care community.

A place that looks after people with dementia to get the kind of assistance and care they need without compromising their health.

Closing Remarks

Anyone who has vascular dementia should not think of it as a death sentence. It is still possible to live a full life even when going through the various vascular dementia stages.

Always remember that different people will experience vascular dementia differently.

While some may go through gradual changes, others will experience a decline in cognitive abilities, which is followed closely by stability periods.

This does not last because there are other step downs in abilities and then stability for a while, and so forth. This is what is called “stepwise” or “step-like progression.”

When your grandparent manages to catch vascular dementia in its early stage, he or she can come up with an effective treatment plan.

This will slow down the illness, preventing it from becoming worse at a fast rate.

Professional doctors have the know-how to identify the underlying cause of the illness.

The expert will come up with a healthy program you can use to reduce the risk of complications that may crop up in the future.

This might include a total change in lifestyle that will slow down the progression of the disease.

Most professionals will recommend that you get moving to increase your physical fitness and blood flow. Additionally, eat a balanced diet, get on a routine, and quit smoking and drinking alcohol.

On average, reports indicate that persons with vascular dementia will live for about five years after they detect the symptoms.

There are, however, many people who have lived for more than five years.

Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease – What to Expect

middle stage alzheimer's disease

In this article, we cover all the possible symptoms, challenges and what to do during the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

This comprehensive “guide” will help you as a caregiver or someone who is concerned about their situation.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder, one of the most common dementia types. It causes numerous changes in the lives of persons who have the illness.

This includes confusion, memory loss, gradual loss of independence, and changes in personality among many others.

The disease progresses through four main stages.

4 Alzheimer’s Disease Stages

Pre-clinical stage

pre-clinical stage
This is where a person experiences changes in the brain before any symptoms of the disease start showing up.

Early/mild stage

early-mild stage
It is the onset of the disease that makes a person mildly experience various symptoms. Examples of such include mild forgetfulness and problems managing money, etc.

Middle/moderate stage

At this stage, the symptoms of the illness become more pronounced where persons with the disease start to face new challenges like difficulties learning new information and problems with communication amidst others.

Late/severe stage

late-severe stage
This is the last leg of the disease where an individual becomes less independent as they have to tackle worsening symptoms before their demise.

Each of these stages of Alzheimer’s is unique in terms of the level of independence a person has and the symptoms they go through.

Today we will focus on middle stage Alzheimer’s disease. This is typically the longest stage of the illness.

Below we will let you in on what to expect during this phase.

Signs of Middle Stage Alzheimer’s disease

signs of middle stage alzheimer's disease
Some of the symptoms that you may experience during the middle stage of the illness include:

Communication Problems

communication problems
Persons with Alzheimer’s gradually lose their ability to express thoughts, find the right words, and keep conversations going.

As time passes by, a considerable percentage will also have a problem understanding what other people are saying.

Communication problems that may crop up during the middle stage include repetitiveness, trouble finding the proper words, reverting to native language, losing train of thought, and relying on non-verbal communication.

Behavioral Changes

behavioral changes
Individuals with Alzheimer’s may experience various changes in behaviors. These may include anxiety, depression, irritability, verbal, and physical outbursts.

Loss Of Independence

loss of independence
Most people with Alzheimer’s will start to have difficulties completing daily tasks.

They may need assistance with activities like grooming, eating, choosing the clothes to wear, taking a bath, brushing teeth, and so forth.

Memory Loss

memory loss
More significant loss of memory is one of the hallmarks of mid-stage Alzheimer’s. Persons at this stage may have a hard time recalling information.

These include personal details like phone numbers, where they live, or important dates like anniversaries and birthdays.

Some people have challenges identifying people who are close to them. They may recognize familiar faces but have no clue what their names are or the relationship they share.

Other symptoms that people experience at his stage include worsening judgment and poorer concentration levels.

People with Alzheimer’s at this point may not be able to tell the time or place they are in.

Knowing the changes to expect is important for the person with the disease and the caregivers as well.

The person suffering will not be too overwhelmed with the changes happening because they already anticipate them.

Caregivers can also come up with the most suitable solutions to deal with these signs so that the person under their care remains as comfortable as possible.

With this in mind, it is also vital to emphasize that Alzheimer’s disease is an individual experience, which means that the warning signs and progression rate can vary widely across individuals.

Safety Concerns During Alzheimer’s Disease Middle Stage

safety concerns during alzheimer's disease middle stage
The signs above may lead to the development of a couple of safety concerns for persons who are going through Alzheimer’s middle stage.

One of the main ones has got to be driving.

Because of changes that are happening in a person’s body, it is advisable for people who have Alzheimer’s to stop driving when they get to the middle stages because it is no longer safe.

Persons with the illness may find it hard at first, but the people around them must reassure them it is the right move.

Additionally, friends and relatives should make sure the affected individuals always get rides when need be.

It also becomes dangerous to leave a person who has Alzheimer’s alone during the middle stages. They are bound to wander and get lost or hurt.

Safety precautions also need to be prioritized, especially if the person is still living at home to avoid accidents and enhance safety.

If the person with Alzheimer’s lives alone, it would be a great idea for them to move in with relatives who are willing to offer round the clock care.

If this is not possible, a residential care setting is an excellent alternative.

These are usually built for seniors who have Alzheimer’s; thus, take care of resident’s needs in the proper way.

Coping with Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

coping with middle stage alzheimers disease
Going through mid-stage Alzheimer’s does not mean that life comes to an end. There are plenty of things that ill people can do to remain sane and enjoy life a little bit like:

Engage in Pleasurable Activities

engage in pleasurable activities
Depending on the level of interest and ability, a person with Alzheimer’s needs to take part in activities they will enjoy.

This can be anything from going for short walks, gardening, crafts, or helping with meal times. These do not need to be anything strenuous and difficult.

The main goal of engaging in various activities is to have fun and forget about the sickness even if it’s just for a little while.

This will not only enhance the quality of life, but it can also help to reduce some behaviors like aggression and wandering.

Remember that the person with Alzheimer’s has to enjoy these activities, or else it will not bring forth the desired results.

Work with a Suitable Daily Care Plan

work with a suitable daily care plan
Daily routines work out well for persons experiencing middle stage Alzheimer’s disease. Planning out the day in advance means that a person knows what they will do.

This is beneficial because the suffering individual does not need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what they should be doing.

At this stage, a caregiver should assist in planning for the day. They should schedule activities that focus on a person’s strengths, likes, interests, and abilities.

The day must include adequate time for bathing, dressing, meals, and rest time.

For people who experience any type of sleep problem, it would be best if they stick to regular times for going to bed and waking up.

Daily routines also need to be flexible enough so that if need be a person can add some spontaneous, meaningful activities.

Most importantly, the day to day routines should adapt to changes the person with Alzheimer’s is going through.

Incorporate Music and Art

incorporate music and art
Art and music have a way of enriching the lives of individuals who have Alzheimer’s, particularly at the middle and end stages.

These allow affected people to engage and express themselves better.

Studies show that music might help improve some behavioral issues.

For instance, if a person listens or dances to the tunes, they love, it can help them feel less agitated.

Music is also known to offer a way to connect in cases where verbal communication becomes more difficult.

Art projects, on the other hand, can offer a sense of purpose and achievement. It should be exciting to engage in using materials that are not toxic or sharp.

Persons participating in the art project should also take their time and have a blast with the activity keeping in mind that the project does not have to end in a single sitting.

Join Support Groups

join support groups
Alzheimer’s disease can be a very alienating illness where most people just want to stay alone. This is not wise because this is what leads to health complications like depression.

It is crucial to find a support group that is close to your location. You can thereby meet other people who are in a similar situation.

This can give you solace, knowing that other people also experience the same challenges.

The support groups can also offer great resources that can help make the Alzheimer’s journey a little bit easier.

Closing Remarks

Experts are currently working tirelessly to come up with a cure for Alzheimer’s because there is none.

For this reason, is important for a person going through middle stage Alzheimer’s to closely work with their doctor to explore treatment options that can help to reduce symptoms that a person experiences.

Do not forget to pay attention to other health issues like dental needs.

Understand that the middle level of the disease requires more effort than the earlier stages.

This implies that persons with Alzheimer’s need all the support they need to live life to the fullest.

As a side note, the person with Alzheimer’s also needs to start planning for the future if the necessary measures are not put in place yet.

This way, there will be no debate when it comes to fulfilling care, legal, and financial wishes when the time comes. Some steps that you can take to secure the future include:

1. Looking into services that are available as your needs change and the illness progresses. These can include care facilities, community programs like Meals on Wheels, respite care, and homecare.

2. Appointing a power of attorney to a trustworthy person. This is the individual who will be responsible for voicing out your decisions when it comes to legal, care, and financial matters where you are not in a position to make a sound judgment.

3 Lewy Body Dementia Stages and Progression

lewy body dementia stages

It is important for individuals to know Lewy body dementia stages, especially if you or a loved one is affected by the condition.

This helps you to understand what to expect so that you can tackle it head-on without any unwelcome surprises.

Before we go deep into the stages, let’s get an overview of what Lewy body dementia (LBD) is and its progression.

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is a type of brain disorder where Lewy bodies start to build up in areas of the brain.

These are microscopic deposits that damage the brain and may eventually lead to the death of the brain’s nerve cells.

Lewy bodies are abnormal protein deposits known as alpha-synuclein.

The build-up of these proteins can affect a person’s thinking capacity, movement, bladder and bowel movements, autonomic body functions, and behavior, etc.

A person with Lewy body dementia often showcases symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. One of the main reasons it is often misdiagnosed as such.

People with Alzheimer’s disease also have Lewy bodies.

The condition is diagnosed through a sequence of tests that include both neurological and physical tests. During these tests, a person’s memory, visuospatial skills, and attention span undergo assessment.

At times, the doctors may also recommend MRI and CT brain scans to confirm the diagnosis along with blood tests.

The disease mostly affects individuals who are above the age of sixty though there are a few cases where a person may get it when they are younger.

Progression of Lewy Body Dementia

progression of lewy body dementia
One of the things that you must note is that Lewy body dementia does not have a straight progression path. It, however, has some characteristics that are likely to show up during the early stages.

Other symptoms also come about when a person already has the illness in the later stages.

What stands out with LBD is that the symptoms often fluctuate.

Many at times a person may function well one day and the next, they experience intense and abrupt memory loss. This can be quite puzzling to people around them, as this may also happen in a single day.

Understanding the fluctuation aspect of the disease is helpful to the person with the condition and those around them as well.

This way, a person will not feel like the affected individual is pretending to forget or like they have moved from one stage of the disease to the next.

While in all honesty, variation in functioning is typically a constant with almost all of the stages of Lewy body dementia.

On average, after diagnosis, people with Lewy body dementia will live for six to twelve years though some live longer, for twenty or more years.

Lewy Body Dementia Stages

With a little bit of information about Lewy body dementia, it’s now time to jump into the stages of the disease. Like many other dementia types out there, the phases are not cast in stone.

This dementia type also tends to develop at a very slow pace.

Different people may have different experiences.

Below we will tackle three stages that a person with Lewy body dementia may go through.

Stage One

During the onset of the disease, there are a few changes that an individual with Lewy body dementia may experience. Some of the early symptoms may include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • REM sleep disorder where a person acts out dreams
  • Minimal movement difficulties
  • Incontinence
  • Increased day time sleep (two hours plus)
  • Loss of interest and initiative
  • Vision, hearing and speech problems
  • Fluctuations in mood, etc.

At this point, memory is usually still intact, although some mild cognitive changes and slight confusion may be present.

The majority of individuals with LBD can live pretty healthy lives going to work and socializing.

Stage Two

As the disease develops towards the middle Lewy body dementia stages, the symptoms become more prominent. Many people usually start to seek medical attention at this point because the changes in the body become clearer.

The symptoms that people may showcase at this stage strongly mirror those of Parkinson’s disease. They may include:

  • Increased impairment of the motor functions of the body
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Challenges with speech
  • Diminishing balance and stability
  • Delusions and paranoia becomes worse than before
  • Leaning to one side when sitting, walking, or standing
  • Agitation
  • Capgrass Syndrome (thinking or seeing identical duplicates of objects, people, locations, etc.)
  • Continued cognition decline which may bring about long periods of confusion

Most people at this stage are relatively independent and can perform a majority of daily living activities without needing a hand.

These can include things like taking a bath, eating, and even taking medication though this differs from one individual to the next.

A few individuals may need supervision as they go about their day to day activities, while others may be more dependent on their caregivers.

During this stage, it is also advisable for caregivers to have Medical Power Of Attorney and Power of Attorney document on the person with the disease as it is usually downhill from here.

Individuals with the disease should also collaborate with their family members to identify ways of protecting their wealth and assets.

Some unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of people with the disease and may end up getting away with it if proper protection channels are not put in place.

Stage 3

During the final Lewy body dementia stage, symptoms become worse than what people experience during the early and middle stages.

Many will agree that during this point the illness affects almost every aspect of an individual.

From the way one moves, talks, thinks, and their mood amongst many others.

Some people may complain of extreme sensitivity to touch, as well as muscle rigidity. The speech also becomes difficult with some people whispering while others may not talk at all.

Proper diagnosis at this point is more likely. Other symptoms that a person will possibly showcase are:

  • Higher risk of falls
  • Problems with transfers and ambulation to an extent that one may need a Hoyer Lift, hospital bed, suction machine, or other aids.
  • Stronger autonomic dysfunctions
  • More frequent incontinence episodes of bowel and bladder
  • Impaired speech where volume/projection may significantly decrease
  • Inability to drive
  • Unable to take medications without help
  • Unable to take part in hobbies and other leisure activities a person may have enjoyed before
  • Higher confusion levels
  • Inability to comprehend the passing of time
  • Higher risk of skin breakouts
  • More muscle contractions especially in the arms, and legs
  • Difficulties eating and drinking (a few persons may require feeding tubes
  • Excessive drooling, chocking, and aspiration
  • Sleeping more hours during the daytime and having problems sleeping at night
  • Hallucinations are prevalent but they tend to be less troublesome
  • Mood fluctuations where a person may experience a mixture of anger, anxiety, paranoia, and depression. In such cases, medical monitoring becomes a priority.

It’s also important to note that symptoms from the earlier stages can also show up during this phase.

Many people at this stage cannot function on their own; thus, care becomes a necessity in almost all aspects of their lives.

It may mean that a person may have to resign if they were still working or running their businesses.

Some individuals may respond to simple commands or follow brief conversations without any difficulty.

It’s also worth mentioning that fluctuations may decrease or increase during these final Lewy body dementia stages.

Extra care is essential

Persons may require long-term care to avoid problems that come with a personal safety risk, psychological symptoms, health, and caregiver risk.

This implies that a person may need a professional caregiver who goes to their house regularly.

Alternatively, an individual may move into a senior care facility that offers care services to golden agers who have Lewy body dementia.

This heavily affects the finances of the person with LBD. The illness also causes people to become susceptible to other infections and diseases like pneumonia because the immune system becomes weaker over time.

The introduction of new medical conditions may hit someone hard because some cases end up being fatal.

Closing Remarks

Lewy body dementia is not a rare disease as it affects millions of individuals and their families all over the globe.

Each person, nonetheless, experiences LBD differently. After reading through Lewy body dementia stages, it is worth noting that a majority of the symptoms of the illness are treatable.

Your doctor can prescribe medication that will treat symptoms related to other illnesses like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

These usually offer symptomatic benefits for movement, cognitive, and behavioral problems.

Accurate and early diagnosis of LBD is also essential. This is because the affected person can jump on a comprehensive treatment plan as soon as possible to enhance the quality of life.

People who have Lewy body dementia should not be left to face this disease on their own.

They need all the support they can get from loved ones and professional doctors as well.

Further research on LBD is also required because currently, there is no sure way of preventing or curing Lewy body dementia.

More physician education about the disease is also vital as this will help to reduce the cases of misdiagnosis.

This way, the experts will be able to differentiate the symptoms of Lewy body dementia and other memory-related illnesses.

Follow by Email